COLUMBUS — As Hurricane Matthew has hit the southeastern coast of the United States, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine urges Ohioans to be generous, but exercise caution, when responding to requests for donations to help those who have been affected.
“I encourage Ohioans to be generous in the wake of this massive storm that has been so destructive in the United States as well as neighboring countries in the Caribbean,” said DeWine. “But please be careful. Unfortunately there are always con artists and scammers who will try to take advantage of Ohioans’ generosity and take the donations for themselves.”
DeWine urges Ohioans to research a charity by visiting www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov to find out if the charity is registered in Ohio. Also, when a charitable organization calls you seeking a donations, the caller must provide the name of the organization and the location of its principal place of business. Professional solicitors calling on behalf of an organization must also provide this basic information, in addition to disclosing the name of the professional solicitor and the fact that the solicitation is being conducted by the caller as a professional solicitor.
The following are some common warning signs of scams:
- The “charity’s” name is similar to a well-known, nationally or internationally recognized charity.
- Callers use high-pressure tactics to request immediate donations.
- The caller is hesitant or unable to answer questions.
- The caller offers to pick up donations immediately instead of waiting to receive them in the mail.
- The caller requests checks be made to a person instead of the charity.
- The caller asks that the money be sent through a transfer service such as MoneyGram or Western Union or that you purchase and provide information found on prepaid cash or gift cards or through iTunes.
If Ohioans suspect charitable fraud or have questions about a charity or professional solicitor, they can call the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-555-1212 or file a compliant online at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.