ALBANY, NY — Charity scams can happen at any time, but they are more prevalent during the holiday season when donors are moved both by generosity and the end-of-year deadline for securing tax …
ALBANY, NY — Charity scams can happen at any time, but they are more prevalent during the holiday season when donors are moved both by generosity and the end-of-year deadline for securing tax deductions.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, reports of charitable solicitation fraud increased more than two-fold in 2022 from 2019.
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection recommends checking the legitimacy of charitable organizations before you donate. Charities engaging in substantial fundraising in New York State should be listed on the New York State Attorney General’s database of registered charities.Verify their registration by checking websites such as www.bbb.org, www.give.org, and www.guidestar.org in addition to visiting the charity’s website.
If donating toward relief efforts, visit a site such as disasterphilanthropy.org to ensure your donation is really going where it needs to.
If a solicitation comes from a third-party company, the charitable organization will receive only a percentage of your donation. If you want to ensure the charity receives the whole amount, donate directly to the charity instead. For more information, access the New York State Attorney General’s website and review the annual “Pennies for Charity” report.
The state department also recommends resisting high-pressure tactics, giving only to people you know directly when using Gofundme.com and other fundraising sites, never disclosing personal information, and never giving cash. Do not send funds to anyone asking for cryptocurrency, since these payments typically have no protections against fraud.
Don’t mail checks from public collection boxes, and instead go directly to the post office to deposit mail, the consumer protection bureau advises. According to the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the number of check fraud crimes nationwide has increased since 2020. If you need to use a public U.S. Postal Service collection box, try to do so before the last pickup of the day to minimize the amount of time the check spends in the box.
New York’s consumer assistance helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m,. excluding state holidays. Consumer complaints can be filed at any time at www.dos.ny.gov/consumer-protection.
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