With double-digit unemployment rates in Kentucky, more Kentucky families are in need of a helping hand this holiday season. Attorney General Jack Conway asks that if you plan to give to a charity, give wisely.
Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous or even fraudulent charities that prey on the generosity of Kentuckians.
“Every dollar donated to a reputable charity can make a difference in the life of someone who may be struggling to put food on the table or clothe a child,” said Conway. “Irresponsible or fraudulent charities not only take advantage of the kindness of hard-working Kentuckians, they deprive those who need our help. Before you decide whether a charity deserves your donation, gather as much information as possible to make sure the charity is not a scam and that your donation reaches someone in need.”
Tips for Giving Wisely
•Donate to charities you know and trust.
•Be cautious of sound-alike charities and solicitors unable to answer questions.
•Always ask what percentage of your dollar goes to the cause.
•Don’t be pressured into making a donation.
•Ask if the charity or solicitor is registered with the Office of the Attorney General.
To research a particular charity, visit the Office of the Attorney General’s website, consumers can find out if a charity is registered, what percentage of the donation actually goes to the charity and what percentage goes to a paid solicitor.
Online Shopping and Gift Cards
Conway also reminds Kentucky consumers to be careful when shopping online or giving gift cards or gift certificates.
•Only deal with companies you know and trust.
•Only do business with companies that offer secure payment processing.
•Beware of contacts made on auction or “for sale” listing sites, that require you to wire money.
•Avoid buying gift cards from online auction sites, they could be counterfeit.
•Consider the company’s financial condition before purchasing a gift card.
•Ask about expiration dates and fees.
•Always give the recipient the original to verify the card’s purchase.
Beware of Phishing Scams
Conway’s Office of Consumer Protection also warns that phishing scams are on the rise. These are emails that appear to be alerting you to special deals on various consumer products; however, they are really designed to steal your financial information and your identity. Please follow these important tips:
•Never respond to emails or pop-up ads that ask for your personal or financial information.
•Protect your personal information. Only share personal or financial information when buying from a company you know and trust.
•Don’t do business with any company that won’t provide its name, street address and telephone number.
If you have been a victim of a consumer scam, help is available by contacting the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-432-9257.