Colorado wildfire scam alert | Community Spirit
Colorado is being ravaged by wildfires impacting the lives of numerous Coloradans. The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office wants to warn consumers that during times of disaster, charity fraud increases and to be wary of giving to fraudulent fundraisers. Consumers need to give wisely. If you are considering contributing to a charity, consider these consumer protection tips:
Check out the charity.
Contact the Denver Better Business Bureaus at www.denver.bbb.org or by calling 303-758-2100 to see it they have a report on the charity. Additionally, charity reports can be obtained at www.give.org.
Check to see if the charity is registered with the Colorado Secretary of State. The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office has a public-private partnership to promote Colorado charities and to inform and protect donors. This can be done by going to www.checkthecharity.com. You can call the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office at 303-894-2200 ext. 6487 if you do not have access to the Internet. Additionally, charity information can be obtained at the Colorado Secretary of State’s web site at www.sos.state.co.us.
Do not give cash. Write checks to the charity, not the solicitor. Only provide your credit card number if you have contacted the charity directly.
Don’t be fooled by charity names that sound like legitimate charities.
Request information – charity name, address, phone number, percentage of donation that actually goes to the charity versus to the administrative and fundraising costs.
Give to the charity directly and avoid the middle-man if possible. By doing this, more of the money goes directly to the charity.
Beware of emotional appeals and high-pressure tactics to give immediately.
Beware of cyber criminals soliciting you through e-mail or by text messages. Never click on links. It is better to go the charity’s web site directly or contact them through a number you obtain, not a number sent to you.
Tax exempt doesn’t mean tax deductible. Tax exempt means the charity does not have to pay taxes. Tax deductible means the donor can deduct the contributions on their tax return.
Do not provide your Social Security number. The charity does not need it for you to claim a tax deduction.
By following these steps, you can help protect yourself from fraud. If you have been victimized, file a complaint with your local law enforcement agency. The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office Consumer Protection Line provides assistance to victims of crime and answers questions on white collar crime issues. If you have a question or need assistance, call 720-874-8547.
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