Do your research before you give to any disaster relief organization in order to make sure your money is really going to the victims of last week’s deadly Oklahoma tornadoes. That’s the advice of Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller. The attorney general’s website, www.IndianaConsumer.com, has information under the “Charities and Donors” section to help donors find more information about charities and how they spend their money.
It is important to be informed and follow simple guidelines when contacted by a solicitor:
- Ask the caller for written information on the charitable organization, including the charity’s name, address, telephone number, mission and details on how your donation will be used;
- Watch out for charities with similar sounding names. Some unscrupulous charities use names that are very similar to those of respected organizations to scam consumers;
- Be suspicious if a caller or invoice thanks you for making a pledge that you didn’t make. If you have any doubt about whether you made a pledge, check your records;
- Under Indiana law, you have the right to cancel a pledge prior to making a contribution; and
- Always make contributions by check and payable to the charitable organization, not to the solicitor.
Consumers who feel they have been ripped off should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office by visiting www.IndianaConsumer.com or by calling 1-800-382-5516. For more information on charitable giving go to http://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2381.htm.