Tips and Resources Ensure Safe Donations Amid Rising Threats
By Dolores Quintana
Attorney General Rob Bonta, in collaboration with the Downtown Women’s Center, addressed the public today, offering insights and guidance on safe and scam-free giving during the holiday season in accordance with AP style. Attorney General Bonta, who holds primary regulatory oversight of charities and their professional fundraisers in California, emphasized the importance of ensuring donations reach the right hands and avoiding potential scams.
Attorney General Bonta commended the generosity of Californians during the holiday season, highlighting the vital role played by charitable organizations such as the Downtown Women’s Center. He expressed gratitude for their partnership in sharing tips to prevent charity scams, particularly acknowledging the Center’s dedication to aiding women facing homelessness in the midst of California’s housing shortage and affordability crisis.
CEO of the Downtown Women’s Center, Amy Turk, stressed the significance of Giving Tuesday’s impact on their annual fundraising efforts. As the sole organization in Los Angeles that focuses exclusively on empowering women and gender-diverse individuals experiencing homelessness, Turk emphasizes the crucial role of donations in supporting their programs throughout the year.
Attorney General Bonta encouraged donors to exercise caution and follow recommended steps to safeguard their contributions:
- Check the Registration Status: Prior to donating, ensure that charities and professional fundraisers are registered with the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts and are up to date with financial reporting.
- Give to Organizations You Trust: Research charities, reviewing annual financial reports to understand how donations are allocated and if any funds go to overhead and compensation.
- Avoid Pressure from Telemarketers: Decline donation requests from telemarketers using pressure tactics and threats, and verify information directly through the organization’s website.
- Be Cautious of “Look-Alike” and Fake Websites: Watch for websites and emails with slightly different addresses, as scammers may attempt to impersonate legitimate charities.
- Beware of Similar-Sounding Names and Deceptive Tactics: Exercise caution with organizations using names resembling reputable charities, and verify unexpected donation claims.
- Wary of Peer-to-Peer Social Network Fundraising: Research online campaigns shared on social media to ensure legitimacy and understand how funds are distributed.
- Exercise Caution with Electronic Donations: Confirm the legitimacy of electronic donation methods, such as text and QR code donations, and review transaction details on receipts and statements.
For additional information on protecting against charity fraud, visit the Attorney General’s donation tips webpage at https://oag.ca.gov/donations. If misconduct is suspected, report it promptly at oag.ca.gov/charities/complaints.