Attorney General Tong Commissioner Seagull urges awareness during Charity Fraud Awareness Week
Attorney General Tong and Commissioner Seagull call for awareness during International Charity Fraud Awareness Week
(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong and Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull are urging Connecticut charities and donors to be on the lookout for bad actors and scams this year International Charity Fraud Awareness Weeka global campaign to prevent and combat fraud in the charitable sector.
All charities, NGOs, and non-profit organizations are susceptible to fraud and can be easily targeted by bad actors looking to take advantage. Those who provide services and support local communities may be particularly vulnerable to fraudsters who attempt to exploit recent crises such as the war in Ukraine and Hurricanes Fiona and Ian to commit fraud and cybercrimes. Donors looking to donate to charity this season are also targets for bad actors who take advantage of their generosity by creating fraudulent charities.
“As we approach the holiday season and prime time for charitable giving, it’s important to be on the lookout for bad actors and scam artists who not only seek to scam generous people out of their money, but also preventing people in need from getting the support they deserve.”, said Attorney General Tong. “While there are many good-hearted people out there who are willing to help others in times of need, there are also scam artists who hide to take advantage of the situation. Be sure to do your homework and check who you have case. Don’t give in to high-pressure tactics. And remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
“As we enter the holiday season, when charitable giving is at its peak, we remind everyone to exercise caution and do their research when considering where to direct their giving this year,” said PCD Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “We don’t want to discourage anyone from being generous. Our goal is to empower consumers and charities to make wise choices and avoid being scammed. »
Tips for giving safely this year:
Here are some tips to protect yourself against fraud and ensure that you are donating to legitimate charities and organizations:
• Do your homework. Before making a charitable donation, make sure you know who you are dealing with and what your donation will be used for. Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, Charity NavigatorWhere Guidestar are good resources for verifying that a charity is legitimate.
• Charities soliciting in Connecticut must be registered with the Department of Consumer Protection. You can verify a listing by visiting elicense.ct.gov.
• Don’t be pressured. Don’t donate if the lawyer uses high-pressure tactics, demands cash, or insists on sending someone to collect your donation
• Be careful when disclosing your personal information or identifying information. Sometimes donors are required to create an account with their personal information to donate to a charity. These accounts can be compromised and your information can be stolen.
• Keep records of your donations. If you’re donating by credit card, check your statements carefully to make sure you’re only charged for what you’ve agreed to donate.
Protecting your charity:
If you run a charity or non-profit organization, it’s important that you protect yourself against fraud. Now more than ever, charities need to be aware of fraud and take steps to protect their assets, donations, and information from bad actors.
• Don’t click on links in unexpected or unsolicited emails and text messages.
• Always check who you work with. Criminals are experts at impersonating people and businesses.
• Carefully review unsolicited offers of “free help” or financial support where advance payment of fees is required.
• Regularly check your charity’s bank statements for unusual or suspicious activity.
Connecticut residents can report charity fraud by contacting the Office of the Attorney General via email at [email protected] or by calling 860-808-5318. Complaints can be filed with https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint/.
Consumers can also report instances of fraud to the Department of Consumer Protection by emailing [email protected] or by visiting www.ct.gov/DCP/complaints.
For more information on charity fraud prevention, visit www.preventcharityfraud.com.