Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is warning Georgia citizens to be wary of scam charities looking to profit off of the crisis in Ukraine:
In times of crisis and need, Georgians need to be particularly watchful that their donations go to legitimate organizations and support the intended recipients.
“As Secretary of State, it is my duty to warn the people of Georgia about the scams and frauds looking to take advantage of their good will and generosity,” said Raffensperger. “I encourage my fellow Georgians to support the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom. But they should make sure their support is going to real charities who will actually send their dollars to the right cause.”
Before making charitable contributions this year, please keep these tips in mind:
- Research Online – If there is a charitable organization or cause to which you would like to donate, research online beforehand to ensure the charity is right for you. The Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator, Guidestar, and other websites provide evaluations of different charitable organizations.
- Check For Charity Filings – Before making any donation, be sure to confirm the organization you are supporting is a legitimate 501(c)(3) charity. Ask for the organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN) and search it on the IRS website, or look for the organization’s 990 tax filings.
- Effectiveness Matters – Take the time to look at an organization’s financial situation. Tools available online, such as those mentioned above, will provide you with information necessary to ascertain how much of your contribution will actually go to those in need versus administrative or other costs. Ask what percentage of your donation will go to relief efforts.
- Do not share personal financial information over the phone – Do not share your credit card, debit card, or bank account information over the phone. Donate by check or credit card, rather than cash. And send the contribution directly to the organization rather than through a third party. If you donate more than $250, the organization should send you a letter confirming the size of your donation.
- Tax Deductible Donations – If making a tax-deductible donation is important to you, search the database of tax-exempt organizations available on the IRS website. Before making your donation, ensure the charity you have identified is in fact tax deductible. Then, once you have made the donation, be sure to get a receipt for your contribution.
The Charities Division encourages Georgians to contact division staff if they receive suspicious charitable solicitations. To report suspicious activity, see the Report a Scam guide.