San Diego

Sham Charities Profit Off Misfortune

A consumer alert was issued Wednesday

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra warned Californians about sham charities that have sprung up in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre that occurred Sunday.

Becerra, who is in charge of supervising charities and professional fundraisers, issued a consumer alert Wednesday to raise awareness of the problem, according to a statement.

“Unfortunately, some people try to capitalize on our generosity in times of tragedy,” said Becerra.

The Department of Justice recommends would-be donators do background research on the charity they are looking to give to, especially regarding how much of donations actually go to the cause the organization supports.

Donators are also encouraged to check if the organization is actually a registered charity.

Legal charities can be searched through the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts. However, just because a charity is registered does not mean the Attorney General endorses it or its activities, according to a statement.

If a person is prompted to donate by a telemarketer, Becerra said to ask where the donation will be going, then double check with that organization to confirm it authorized a solicitation service.

Other red flags to be wary of are look-alike websites, similar sounding names and social network fundraising sites that take a percentage of the donation or collects a fee for platform websites.

Donators are also cautioned to protect their identity, including social security cards and credit cards. Some organizations sell or rent donor lists to other organizations, so checking the charity’s privacy policy is also encouraged, according to the statement.

Becerra said those who suspect they have been victim of a charity scam can file a complaint to his office website.

“We will do everything we can to hold them accountable,” said Becerra.

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