California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Issues Consumer Alert on Fraudulent Charities
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a consumer alert to warn Californians about fraudulent charities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Attorney General Becerra reminds all Californians to do their research before submitting donations to any charity, especially during a time of crisis.
Below are general donation tips that can help consumers avoid charitable giving scams.
- Check Registration Status: All charitable organizations requesting donations must be registered under the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts at www.oag.ca.gov/charities.
- Give to Organizations You Trust: Do your research before giving.
- Don’t Be Pressured By Telemarketers And Ask Questions Before Donating: If you receive a call from a telemarketer, ask for the name of the fundraising organization, whether it is registered with the Attorney General’s Office, the name of the charity benefiting from the solicitation, how much of your donation will go to charity and how much to the telemarketer, and the direct telephone number of the charity.
- Be Cautious Of “Look-Alike” Websites: These fraudulent websites may have a slightly different web address (URL).
- Watch Out For Similar-Sounding Names And Other Deceptive Tactics: Some organizations use names that closely resemble those of well-established charitable organizations to mislead donors.
- Be Wary Of Social Network and Crowdfunding Websites: If you are planning to donate through a social network solicitation or through a crowdsourcing website, such as GoFundMe, find out what percentage is going to the charity, whether you will be charged a fee, or if a percentage of your donation will be paid to the platform website.
- Protect Your Identity: Never give your Social Security number or other personal information in response to a charitable solicitation.
Victims of charitable giving scams can file a complaint on the Attorney General’s website at oag.ca.gov/report.
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