Commissioner Brent Bailey reminds consumers to be attentive of potential telemarketer charity scams during the holidays.
Fake charities may use telemarketing methods to try and con you out of your money by pretending to represent a well-known charitable cause.
“Charities may utilize outside companies to do the telemarketing for them to reach their existing or potential donors, especially during the busy holiday season,” Commissioner Bailey said. “Our office supports charitable giving and activities, but we want to ensure that the people of the Central District are not falling prey to sophisticated scams or being misled by an organization or donating to an organization that is not playing by the rules.”
Consumers should do their research before donating, especially over the phone. Stick to charities you have donated to in the past. Be leery if someone is rushing you into paying or saying you are obligated to pledge an amount since scammers want to get your money as quick as they can. If you feel pressure to act immediately and without delay, ask the caller for time to think about it first. The harder the pressure to donate, the more suspicious you should be. Additionally, you should pay attention to how they ask you to pay. Real charities won’t ask for money transfers or gift cards.
Please check with the Secretary of State’s Office to determine if the recipient of your potential contribution is a legitimate charitable organization. The Secretary of State provides a "Charity Search" portal on their website to verify the charity is registered with the State. In addition to contacting the Public Service Commission's office, consumers can also file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office if you feel that you have been scammed by a questionable charitable organization.