Donate wisely and avoid charity scams
July 19, 2018
While most charities are focused on doing good work, some sham groups only pretend to do good work. They collect donations for worthy-sounding causes, but they do little or nothing to support that cause.
In one recent case, a group called “Help the Vets” was found to have collected millions of dollars in donations while making false claims about providing medical care and other services to wounded veterans. Investigators found that such programs largely didn’t exist and that most of the money went to fundraisers who were paid to collect donations.
To donate wisely and avoid scams:
- Don’t rely on a group’s name alone. Many sham charities have real-sounding names.
- Research charities using the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and other resources.
- Check an organization’s IRS Form 990, which is typically available on Guidestar.org, to find program descriptions, expenses, and other details.
- Be aware that some calls come from for-profit companies that are paid to collect donations. If you ask, these professional solicitors must tell you how much of your donation will go to the charity. They also are required to identify themselves.
Suspected charity scams should be reported to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515. The Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section investigates suspected violations of the state’s charitable laws and pursues enforcement actions to protect Ohio donors.