Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman is warning consumers to beware of scams trying to exploit the recent earthquake in Nepal. During the aftermath of natural disasters, many people want to do their part by giving to charity in order to help victims and their families during their time of crisis. Unfortunately, scam artists prey on the generosity of others by soliciting for fraudulent donations.
“Experience has shown that scam artists exploit any opportunity they can by preying on the generosity of others, particularly regarding national news events such as natural disasters,” Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman stated. “It is important that Coloradans research charities thoroughly before making a donation.”
Scammers use the same methods as legitimate charities to solicit donations including telemarketing, door-to-door contact, email pleas, websites and pop-up advertisements, text messaging, social media, and crowdfunding sites.
Consumers considering a donation request should research the organization before giving. Ask for detailed information about the organization including the name, address, telephone number, licensing information, and percentage of the donation that will go to the charity. Consumers should always check the Colorado Secretary of State’s web site,www.sos.state.co.us, to verify that a charity is registered as required by law and to view past tax filings indicating how donations are being spent. Other online services such asChecktheCharity.com, Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, or the IRS Select Check can be helpful in finding relevant information about a charity. If you decide to make a donation, contact the organization directly from the information obtained during your research.
Charitable organizations that start in response to current events and natural disasters should be avoided. Even if they are legitimate, they most likely do not have the infrastructure in place to get the donations to the affected people or area.
Avoid These Telltale Signs of Charity Fraud:
• Charities or fundraisers that refuse to provide detailed information about their
identity, mission, costs, or how the donation will be used.
• Charities that use names closely resembling those of better-known organizations.
• Organizations that thank you for a pledge you don’t remember making.
• Those that use high-pressure tactics to get you to donate immediately.
• Anyone asking for donations in cash or by wire transfer.
• Those that offer to send a courier to collect your donation immediately.
• Any organization that guarantees sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a
For additional information please visit our charity fraud center at www.stopfraudcolorado.gov. If you believe you have been victimized by a scam or wish to report suspicious activity, please file a report at www.stopfraudcolorado.gov/report.