Consumer Corner Column

Consumer Corner: Protect yourself from scams during the season of giving

By Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt

The time of year is once again upon us when Kansas families will gather together to give thanks for their blessings of the past year and celebrate the holiday season. This is also the time of year when people are feeling the most generous, and charitable organizations are making requests for assistance to help those in need. 

While there are many great causes to support, there are also scam artists out there who pose as legitimate charities looking to make a buck off of Kansans’ generosity.

It’s important to do your homework before giving. Rather than waiting to receive a solicitation by mail, email or phone call, decide ahead of time how much you want to donate and what organizations you want to support. 

Never make a rushed decision when you receive a solicitation. Some fundraisers engage in high-pressure sales tactics to get you to donate over the phone. Instead, ask the solicitor to send you information about the organization in writing. Legitimate charities will be happy to send you information by mail and wait a few days or weeks for your donation.

Most charitable organizations operating in Kansas are required by law to register with the Secretary of State’s Office. You can check a charity’s registration online at www.KsCharityCheck.org. On that website, you will also find helpful information about the organization, including how much of the money it raises goes to support the charitable purpose and how much is spent on fundraising expenses. 

If you’re planning on taking a tax deduction for your charitable contribution, ask about the organization’s tax status. Also check with your tax preparer to make sure the contribution will be deductible.

For more tips on staying safe from scams this holiday season, visit the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection website at www.InYourCornerKansas.org.