MADIGAN: BE WARY OF SCAMS TIED TO RELIEF EFFORTS IN PHILIPPINES
Attorney General Urges Contributors to Research Charities Before Donating
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today urged Illinois residents who plan to donate to typhoon relief efforts underway in the Philippines to be on the lookout for fundraising scams by con artists seeking to exploit the natural disaster for their personal profit.
“In the wake of such massive destruction, people understandably want to do what they can to help others in need,” Madigan said. “Unfortunately, scam artists try to take advantage of this goodwill. I urge Illinois residents who want to make charitable contributions to research organizations before making a donation to ensure it will directly benefit the victims in the Philippines.”
The Attorney General’s office advised that donors who are seeking to give to relief efforts should be wary of requests for clothing, food or other questionable in-kind donations. Unless the charitable organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid, the donations may be more of a burden than a help. Ask the charity about their transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.
In addition, potential donors should find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Donors may want to avoid the intermediary and give directly to charities that have a presence in the region. The Attorney General advised that donors may want to ask questions to determine the ultimate recipients of the donations to ensure that the organizations are equipped to effectively provide aid.
Under Illinois law, fundraisers and charitable organizations are required to register each year with the Attorney General’s office. To assist potential donors in making wise giving decisions, the Attorney General’s office provides important financial information about charitable organizations such as income, expenditures, and programs.
To best ensure that your donation will be used for its intended purpose, Attorney General Madigan suggested the following tips:
Madigan encouraged donors to report suspicious solicitations to her office’s Charitable Trust Bureau by calling (312) 814-2595. Madigan recommended that, whenever possible, keep notes detailing the date and time of the call, the organization’s name, and the name of the solicitor. She also suggested trying to remember the “pitch” as well as any other pertinent information.