COLUMBUS -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today offered charitable giving tips in the wake of the Nepal earthquake that has killed thousands.
"Our hearts go out to all those affected by the tragic earthquake in Nepal," DeWine said. "We encourage Ohioans to give generously to help the victims, while also taking steps to avoid scam artists who will keep charitable donations for themselves and do nothing to help those in need."
Signs of a potential charity scam include:
- High-pressure tactics;
- Refusal to provide written information about the charity or about how a donation will be used;
- Organizations that sound similar to other better-known organizations;
- Requests for checks made payable to a person instead of a charity; and
- Offers to pick up donations immediately versus in the mail or online.
Individuals who want to make charitable donations online should following online good giving tips. For example:
- If you receive a text message or email asking for a donation, confirm that the request is from the charity (and not an imposter) by contacting the charity or visiting its website.
- Check with resources such as the Ohio Attorney General's Office, IRS, and GuideStar to find information about a charitable organization.
- Be cautious of lookalike websites. Some scam artists may set up websites that appear to be legitimate charity websites in order to gain your personal or financial information.
- Don't assume that charity recommendations on social media have been properly vetted. Research the charity yourself.
- If you want to set up a fundraising page for a particular charity, contact the organization in advance to get its permission and determine how you can properly collect donations.
- Be cautious with new charities formed shortly after a tragedy. While the organization may have good intentions, it may not have enough experience to quickly respond to a situation. You may want to donate to an established organization that has a proven track record in assisting with international relief efforts.
Individuals who suspect questionable charitable activity or who want to find additional tips should contact the Ohio Attorney General's Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.