For Immediate Release
December 9, 2008
Lauren J. Noether, (603) 271-3643
Michael S. DeLucia, (603) 271-3591
Tips to Avoid Fraud in Charitable Giving
Attorney General Kelly A. Ayotte issued a consumer alert today regarding charitable donations and tips to avoid fraud. Attorney General Ayotte said:
This is the season for giving and making charitable donations to worthy organizations and those in need. The people of New Hampshire are extraordinarily generous with charitable gifts and have a right to be informed in their gift giving. New Hampshire citizens can ask a number of questions of those soliciting contributions to ensure a gift is going to a legitimate charity and not lining a scammer's pocket.
The following tips are provided to help identify legitimate charitable organizations:
- Any fundraiser should identify himself or herself. If the caller is soliciting on behalf of a charity, he or she should be able to identify that charity and, if appropriate, identify himself or herself as a paid solicitor. The paid solicitor should also be willing to mail written information to you upon request.
- Charities can solicit donations on their own behalf without hiring a professional fundraiser; however, any charity that solicits donations from New Hampshire citizens is required to register with the Attorney General's Charitable Trusts Unit. If someone contacts you and there is a question whether the charity is legitimate, please call the Charitable Trusts Unit at (603) 271-3591.
- Any professional fundraiser who solicits donations on behalf of a charity is also required to register with the Charitable Trusts Unit. Feel free to contact the Unit if you have any questions regarding a professional fundraiser.
- If the solicitor is rude, cannot identify himself or herself, or acts in a manner you regard as suspicious, think seriously about not making the donation.
- Never give out personal information such as social security numbers or bank account numbers over the telephone.
- Donations initiated by citizens through an Internet site should only be to trusted charitable organizations and be made only on secure Internet sites. Look for "https" in the Internet site address and the padlock logo to help determine if the site is secure.
- Always be cautious when giving out credit card information or other financial information.
For a more complete list of steps to take before making a contribution, please see the following "Top Ten" suggestions. Citizens may also use www.guidestar.org to review the charity's Form 990 filing. The Charitable Trusts Unit publication, Ten Tips for Making Smart Donations .