WV Attorney General advises using caution when making donations
Many West Virginians, remembering the devastating floods of 2016 and the help they received are now eager to pay it forward by helping those in the path of Hurricane Harvey. But West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey reminds consumers to use caution as they open their wallets to help.
Those concerned about the legitimacy of a specific charity or organization should confirm it is registered to solicit donations. That information can be accessed through the Secretary of State’s Office in West Virginia and/or Texas.
Consumers also can research charities online via www.charitynavigator.org or www.guidestar.org.
Here are some additional tips from the WV Attorney General’s office to keep in mind when giving to disaster relief organizations:
- Never feel pressure to donate immediately.
- Be suspicious of charities that ask for donations in cash or via wire transfer.
- If the organization is unfamiliar, gather as much information as possible and do your research before you donate.
- Online contribution websites should start with https://. The ‘s” verifies a secure connection, making it less likely for personal information to be stolen.
- Verify any local chapter is authorized to solicit funds on behalf of its parent organization.
- Go directly to a charity or organization’s website instead of clicking on a link to the desired group.
- Be wary of any charity refusing to detail its mission, use of donations or proof of tax deductibility.
- Keep records, including a letter confirming the charitable status of the organization for contributions in excess of $250.
Any West Virginian solicited to donate to a charity they think may be fraudulent can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.