11/22/2012 11:24 AM
by Nadine Grimley
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is reminding residents to be cautious when donating to different charities during the holiday season.
Tennant offers the following tips to help citizens protect themselves from fraudulent charities:
- Never give to a charity that you don't know anything about and one that refuses to answer questions about where your money goes.
- Dont' feel as though you have to donate right away.
- Ask for identification, if the caller refuses, hang up.
- Be wary of charities that have a name similar to a well-respected one.
- Write a check and use the charity's full name, that way you have a record of the contribution.
- When in doubt, do your research.
“There are thousands of people, some right here in our state, who will
struggle to provide a happy holiday for their family because of the
damage done by Hurricane Sandy,” Secretary Tennant said. “My concern is
that people who are running fraudulent organizations will call West
Virginians and try to get them to donate money by making them feel like
they have to donate money. People in West Virginia are truly caring
people, and the information on our website can help citizens protect
themselves and not let dishonest people take advantage of them.”
There are currently 3,248 organizations registered with her office. The online database can be found on www.sos.wv.gov. Not all charities can be found there, for example the Red Cross is monitored on a federal level and the Salvation Army is a religious organization so they are not required to register.