Attorney General Coffman urges Coloradans to donate wisely in wake of Hurricane Harvey. Don’t compound a disaster by throwing your charitable dollars away.
DENVER – Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman is urging consumers to do their homework before responding to a solicitation for money to help victims of Hurricane Harvey and the widespread flooding in southern Texas. Natural and man-made disasters always give rise to fake charity and other donation scams.
“Coloradans are extremely generous, and I know many people, myself included, are watching the tragedy unfold in Texas and are looking for ways to help,” said Attorney General Coffman. “It is important to take a few quick steps to ensure that these needed donations are really going to victims or to organizations providing victim and community support.”
· Research the charity before you donate. Ask for detailed information about the organization including name, address, telephone number, licensing information, and percentage of your donation that will go to the charity. Search online for substantiating information as well as for their reputation using services like www.ChecktheCharity.com, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance at www.give.org, or others.
· Be especially wary of brand-new charities and crowdfunding sites that have popped up as a result of this tragic event. Even if they are well-intentioned, they may not have the necessary infrastructure to provide relief or services to the victims.
· Do not respond to unsolicited solicitations that that arrive by phone, email, pop-up messages, or even door-to-door.
· Avoid charities or fundraisers that refuse to provide detailed information about their identity, mission, costs, or how your donation will be used.
· Know that not all donations are tax-deductible—donations to specific individuals or families, for example, are not. If someone raising money on behalf of a particular victim or family says your donation is tax-deductible, chances are it’s a scam.
· Charity Navigator is useful for gathering information about existing charities and has a Hurricane Harvey specific section.
For more information about charity fraud, please visit the Charity Fraud Center. If you believe you have been a victim of charity fraud, you can file a report there or call 1-800-222-4444.