Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is urging Missourians to exercise caution before donating to charities aiding in coronavirus outreach.
While there are a number of charities doing fantastic work to aid those affected by the coronavirus, there are bad actors who may try to take advantage of those wishing to donate. Although the Attorney General’s Office hasn’t yet received any recent consumer complaints related to coronavirus charities, Missourians should be cautious of any solicitation calls or emails and do their research before donating.
“Missourians who wish to donate to some of the charities doing incredible work to aid the people of this state should be cautious when giving money. While others are working day and night to help people affected by this pandemic, bad actors may be working overtime to steal your money or information,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Anyone seeking to defraud Missourians should know that the Attorney General’s Office is watching, and we will take action wherever possible.”
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office offers these tips to avoid charity fraud:
- Don’t judge a charity by its name. False charities may use names that closely resemble legitimate charities.
- Don’t be pressured. Give only when you are comfortable with the charity.
- Don’t commit over the phone. Ask for written information.
- Avoid cash donations and make checks payable to the organization, not to an individual.
- Insist on a tax-deductible receipt indicating the amount contributed.
- When in doubt, call the charity and ask them if they are aware of the solicitations being done in their name.
- Do not allow solicitors to enter your home.
Missourians should report any and all instances of fraud or scams to the Missouri Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline by calling 1-800-392-8222 or by filing a complaint online at https://ago.mo.gov/app/consumercomplaint.