BEWARE OF CHARITY SCAMS
1. Rule out anyone who asks you to send cash, pay with a gift card or wire money.
2. Confirm the exact name, address, phone number and registration number of the charity and do some research online:
Make sure the charity is registered with the State of California – on the Attorney General’s website. (Though just because it is listed, it doesn’t mean the charity is endorsed).
Check google – type the charity’s name or phone number with the word "scam" or "complaint."
3. Be cautious of look-alike websites that have names or websites that are similar to legitimate charities.
4. Find out what percentage of the amount you are donating is actually going to the charity. Ask for written materials.
5. You can review IRS 990 forms for the charities to see how they spend money that is donated to them.
6. Protect your identity – Don’t give out personal information like your social security number.
7. Get a receipt with the name of the charity on it.
8. Don’t fall prey to scam charities that seem to pop up right after natural disasters or tragedies - like the wildfires.
9. California Wildfire Registered Charities:
If you think you’ve been scammed, file a consumer complaint with our office.