|District attorney warns against charity cons
The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office cautions residents to beware of possible scams involving individuals going door-to-door attempting to solicit money for charities. These fraudsters may be requesting donations for made up charities and/or charities they are not actually affiliated with.
If anyone asks you for a donation on behalf of a charity, consider the following advice from the Federal Trade Commission:
• Ask for the charity’s name, address, and phone number, and written information about its programs. A legitimate charity should have no problem with giving you this information.
• Be wary of charities that spring up overnight in connection with current events or natural disasters. They may make a compelling case for your money, but as a practical matter, they probably don’t have the infrastructure to get the donations to the affected areas or people.
• Call the charity. Find out if the organization is aware of the solicitation and has authorized the use of its name. If not, you may be dealing with a scam artist.
• Do not send or give cash donations. Cash can be lost or stolen. For security and tax record purposes, it’s best to pay by check — made payable to the charity, not the solicitor.
• Reject high-pressure pitches. It’s okay to close the door or hang up the telephone.
To research a charity before making a decision to give, utilize the Charity Research Tool on the California Attorney General’s Charities Web page at: oag.ca.gov/charities.
For more information on precautionary measures to take prior to donating, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Charitable Fraud Web page: ftc.gov/charityfraud/.
To report suspected fraud, please contact your local police department or the Environmental and Consumer Law Division of the District Attorney’s Office at 565-3161.