Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam is offering tips to help Floridians make the most of their charitable contributions in advance of Giving Tuesday, which is nationally celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. [Read more…] about Check-A-Charity Before Donating This Giving Tuesday
Attorney General Bondi is releasing tips for charitable giving ahead of Giving Tuesday. Encouraging generosity following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a day recognized around the world that is devoted to giving back. While the holiday season often inspires many to be kind and give to a good cause, scammers may seek to take advantage of the kindness of others.
“‘Giving Tuesday’ is an important time to support charities working to improve the lives of others, and helping those less fortunate is especially important during the holiday season—BUT before you donate, make sure the charity you are giving to is legitimate and not a scam,” said Attorney General Bondi.
Here are some tips to safeguard against charity-related scams this holiday season:
- Research a charity by using Charity Navigator to confirm the charity is legitimate;
- Understand how much of the donation will actually go toward the work of the charity as opposed to administrative and fundraising expenses;
- Be proactive and donate to a reputable charity, rather than wait to be solicited;
- If donating online at a fundraising site, be sure to confirm the identity of the recipient and be careful when providing any personal contact information;
- Ask for a pledge form and information about the charity in the mail if the charity you are interested in donating to initiates contact;
- Do not give credit card or bank account information over the phone or in response to an unsolicited email; and
- Contact the Attorney General’s Office at (866) 9-NO-SCAM or call the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at (703) 276-0100 to determine if there are any complaints against a charity.
For more responsible giving tips, please read Attorney General Bondi’s 2017 Holiday Consumer Protection Guide.
Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam is offering tips to help Floridians make the most of their charitable contributions in advance of Giving Tuesday, which is nationally celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services helps Floridians maximize their donations by providing detailed information on charities registered in Florida.
“Floridians repeatedly support each other when it matters most, but before donating this Giving Tuesday, it’s important to know how your contributions will be spent,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.
Floridians should to take the following simple steps when preparing to make a charitable contribution:
- Check-A-Charity Before Donating
Use the department’s Check-A-Charity tool at FloridaConsumerHelp.com to view a charity’s financial information, how contributions are being spent and current registration status, or call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).
- Watch out for Scams
Scammers take advantage of people by pretending to be a real charity to commit fraud. Frequently, bogus charities will exploit a recent natural disaster or tragedy, such as a hurricane, and promise to use the donations to aid victims. It is also important not to judge a charity solely on its name, as many organizations may use names similar to well-known charities and organizations.
- Keep Good Records
Always obtain and save a printed copy of a donation or a receipt showing the amount of the contribution. Not all organizations soliciting in the name of benevolence are true charities eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. Ask about the organization’s federal and state eligibility for receiving tax deductible donations. Typically, such donations fall under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).
For more information about individual charities, check out the Check-A-Charity tool.
All charities soliciting within Florida, excluding religious, educational, political and governmental agencies, are required to register and file financial information with the department. If a professional solicitor is requesting a donation on behalf of a charity, the solicitor also must be registered with the department and should be able to provide their registration number.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state’s clearinghouse for consumer complaints, protection and information. The call center is staffed with trained analysts who can respond to questions about programs and regulations under the department’s purview, provide information on a wide variety of topics or direct callers to the appropriate government agency.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.