Dewine warns of charity scams

Portsmouth Daily Times

January 2, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Attorney General Mike DeWine says Ohioans should be careful when donating money to charities in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders.

“The tragedy in Connecticut that took so many lives and broke the hearts of the victims’ families has also spread sorrow throughout our nation,” DeWine said. “We want to reach out and help however we can. But please remember that while legitimate funds and charities make good use of your donations, there are scammers who may use this horrific event to steal money for themselves.”

DeWine said phony appeals made through social media sites and text messages are especially popular under these circumstances because they can be done almost immediately and virtually anonymously.

Be careful by following these tips:

  • Donate to well-known, established charities; be wary of copycat charities or those with similar names to legitimate charities
  • Delete unsolicited emails asking for charitable donations; do not open any attachments or visit links that may be provided in such emails
  • Do not make checks payable to an individual; specify the purpose of any donation and in writing when possible
  • Do not be pressured to give — it is a sign of a scam

DeWine said Ohioans can also research a charity at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov to find out whether the organization is registered and current in the state of Ohio. He said, if contacted by a charity or a professional solicitor calling on behalf of a charity, there is basic information they must provide and additional questions potential donors can ask that must be answered.

When a charitable organization calls you seeking a donation, the caller must provide the name of the organization and the location of its principal place of business. Professional solicitors calling on behalf of an organization must also provide this basic information about the charity, in addition to disclosing the name of the professional solicitor and the fact that the solicitation is being conducted by the caller as a professional solicitor.

If you suspect charitable fraud or have questions about a charity or a professional solicitor, call the Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515, or file a complaint online at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com