The holiday season is a time for giving. Unfortunately, scam artists are willing to turn your generosity into something Grinch-like.
Ken Selzer, CPA, Kansas Commissioner of Insurance, and John Wine, Kansas Securities Commissioner, are urging Kansans to beware of fraudulent charity solicitation operations through phone, internet and door-to-door solicitations.
“Well-meaning Kansans often get duped into thinking that their holiday contributions are going to charitable causes,” Commissioner Selzer said. “Both Commissioner Wine and I agree that we all need to be cautious and follow some basic considerations in our monetary giving.”
Here are some of the best tips, courtesy of several governmental organizations:
* Resist pressure to give on the spot, whether the pressure comes from a telemarketer or a door-to-door solicitor. With online appeals, always check to verify the organization’s name and the accurate URL with an internet search. You can also go to www.give.org to check an organization’s verification.
* Be wary of heart-wrenching appeals, and press the solicitor for specifics about how the organization is helping people.
* Don’t assume that every soliciting organization is tax exempt as a charity. Ask how your donation will be appropriated.
* Never give cash or write a check to an individual solicitor. Make a check or credit card donation payable to an organization.
* If a charity claims to be helping with a local organization such as a police or fire department, check with that civic organization to see if they are indeed fundraising and using the solicitors. Check with your friends to see if they are familiar with the charity.
“A bit of caution dealing with organizations and causes you are unfamiliar with will go a long way toward making sure your contributions are directed to the right place,” Commissioner Selzer said.