Bookmark this page on your mobile

QR Code image

What is this?

Daily Court Reporter - News Attorney General DeWine offers charitable giving tips

 

Attorney General DeWine offers charitable giving tips

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently offered charitable giving tips during the end of the year, when donors are encouraged to make charitable contributions amid the holiday shopping season.

“There are many worthwhile causes to support, but unfortunately, there are also some con artists who take advantage of the generosity of others,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We want to help people ensure that their donations go to the right place.”

Charities throughout the country use the last month of the year to seek support from donors. At the same time, scammers also compete for these contributions. Con artists may pose as reputable charity representatives and collect donations by phone, online, or outside stores. They may claim to support a charitable cause but ultimately keep the money for themselves.

Signs of a potential charity scam include:

High-pressure tactics.

No details about how your donation will be used.

Refusal to provide written information about the charity.

Organizations with names similar to those of other, better-known organizations.

Requests for donations made payable to a person instead of a charity.

Offers to pick up donations immediately versus in the mail or online.

Requests for payment via wire transfer or gift card.

To help detect and avoid potential charity scams, donors should:

Carefully review donation requests. Don’t assume that charity recommendations have been vetted, even if they’re posted or shared by your friends. Check them independently. The first request you find may not be the best.

Develop a giving plan. Determine which charities you want to support, and then respond to unexpected or unwanted requests by explaining that you already have a giving plan in place. Invite other groups to provide you with written information so you can evaluate their requests.

Research charities. Find out if an organization is registered with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, verify its tax-exempt status with the IRS, and gather data from organizations such as the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Watch, and Charity Navigator. View the organization’s IRS Form 990 on Guidestar. Review program descriptions, expenses, compensation levels, and other details. Conduct a basic internet search to review a group’s accomplishments or questionable activity.

Ask how your donation will be used. Keep in mind that some charitable giving requests come from professional solicitors who are paid to collect donations. Solicitors should identify themselves, and if you ask, tell you what percentage of your donation will go to the charity. Also contact charities directly to find out how they use donations. Get information in writing. Compare a charity’s materials with information you gather from other sources.

Don’t rely solely on an organization’s name. Some con artists misuse the names of real charities or use other, real-sounding names in order to confuse donors. If you receive a message from an organization asking for a donation, confirm that the request truly is from the organization, and not an impostor, by contacting the organization directly or visiting its website. Don’t assume a cause is legitimate just because of its name. Also be wary of sharing financial information, such as your credit card number, over the phone to someone who contacts you unexpectedly.

Check out crowdfunding campaigns before donating. If you want to make a contribution using a crowdfunding or peer-to-peer fundraising site, find out how your donation will be used before donating. Try to determine which campaigns are legitimate and which haven’t been vetted. (Some people ask for donations for a cause but ultimately keep the money for themselves.) Also consider how much of your donation will go to the website itself or whether you will be charged any fees for making the donation.

Businesses also may be asked to support charitable causes during the holiday season, and to help protect businesses and their customers from charity donation scams, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides “A Charity Guide for Businesses,” which encourages businesses to evaluate charitable solicitation requests, such as requests to set up a donation table outside a store. The guide includes a sample approval form businesses can use in their vetting process.

Those who suspect a charity scam or questionable charitable activity should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office investigates and takes enforcement action against charitable fraud.

About the Ohio Attorney General's Office

By law, the Attorney General is the chief law officer for the state of Ohio. We protect Ohio families from predatory financial practices through our enforcement authority in the areas of consumer protection, antitrust, charitable organizations, and health care fraud.

We support the important work of local law enforcement agencies by training officers at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. Experts at our Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation analyze DNA, fingerprints, and other evidence. The Organized Crime Investigations Commission and the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway provide additional resources to crack complex cases. We directly enforce Ohio’s environmental laws.

By advocating Ohio’s strong open government laws, we promote accountability, providing ongoing training in public records and open meetings. Our Internal Audit division has unfettered access to ensure that our own policies and procedures are followed properly, so the spotlight of inquiry is also upon us at all times.

We offer services to protect the most vulnerable citizens among us, including children, the elderly, victims of crime and those who are preyed upon by greed in its many forms: unfair, illegal or shady business practices, criminal conduct and abuse of power and corruption. We have many programs to support veterans, active duty military, and their families.

Date Published: December 19, 2018

 

Ohio Attorney General's Office

 

American priest from Ohio charged with sexually abusing Filipino boys

An American priest from Cincinnati has been charged by a federal criminal complaint for allegedly sexually abusing minor boys.

Grange unveils home cyber protection product

With a greater number of smart devices comes a greater risk of cybercrime.

New legislative report on education, poverty offers recommendations

A legislative task force charged with taking a deep look at poverty's impact on the education of Ohio's children and any resultant achievement gap between rich and poor students has wrapped up its work and filed a report.

House passes bill exempting service dogs of Ohio veterans from some fees

Pet lovers and armchair political commentators alike confirmed the soft spot Americans have for their canine companions upon observing the late-President George H.W. Bush's service dog lying alongside his flag-draped coffin.

Ohio law permits adult adoptions

Adopting an adult in Ohio

Two Toledo-area residents arrested and charged for preparing separate, unrelated terrorism attacks

A Toledo woman was arrested and charged in federal court after she purchased black powder and screws that she believed were going to be used to make a bomb as part of a terrorist attack.

Victims of attorney theft awarded money from lawyers' fund

The Board of Commissioners of the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection has awarded $240,000 to 16 victims of attorney theft. Eight former or suspended Ohio attorneys were found to have misappropriated client funds. One attorney, since deceased, also was involved in the claims presented to the Board of Commissioners.

ABA releases new standards for care and representation of unaccompanied child immigrants

The American Bar Association Commission on Immigration has released a new set of standards for the detention, care and legal representation of unaccompanied child immigrants. It is an indispensable guide for immigration authorities, lawyers and advocates.

Attorney General DeWine announces multistate consumer protection settlement with one of largest debt buyers

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently announced a multistate consumer protection settlement with one of the nation’s largest debt buyers – Encore Capital Group and its subsidiaries Midland Funding and Midland Credit Management – to require the company to reform its debt buying and collection practices.

California lawyer fined for unauthorized practice of law in Ohio

The Ohio Supreme Court recently fined a California lawyer and his firm $2,000 for representing an Ohioan in a debt collection case in the state without having a license to practice law in Ohio.

Ohio man convicted of trying to join ISIS

A federal judge has convicted a Jordanian national residing in Dayton of attempting and conspiring to join ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Ohio recognized as leader in electric grid modernization

Ohio was recently recognized with an "Outstanding Progress Award" by the GridWise Alliance for its accomplishments in rapidly expanding grid modernization efforts. GridWise cited the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO)’s PowerForward Roadmap as the major factor for Ohio’s improved ranking in this year’s Gridwise Modernization Index (GMI).

Ohio’s Superintendent recognizes next round of Purple Star schools

In celebrations today at Eastwood High School (Wood County) and Whitehouse Primary School (Lucas County), State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria announced that 57 Ohio schools received the Purple Star designation for their commitment to serving military-connected students and their families.

Man sentenced to 17 years for sex trafficking women by exploiting their opioid addictions

Rashad Sabree, 37, of Boston, Massachusetts, was sentenced recently in federal court in the District of Maine to 17 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution after previously pleading guilty to two count of sex trafficking. In sentencing the defendant, U.S. District Court Judge John D. Levy highlighted the degree of cruelty that the defendant’s crimes involved and its impact on the victims. The sentence was announced by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank of the District of Maine, Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Boston, and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Boston Division.

Drug-trafficking nurse practitioner, other work comp cheats convicted recently

Eight Ohioans convicted on workers’ compensation fraud or related charges in November include a Springfield nurse practitioner who pleaded guilty to felony drug trafficking and a Cleveland-area man who collected $245,000 in disability benefits while working construction jobs since 2009.

Evans Landscaping officials convicted of defrauding city, state 'small business' programs

A jury has convicted Evans Landscaping, Inc. and company executives on all counts charged in a fraud case.

Nursing home barred from seeking outstanding bill payment from surviving spouse

A creditor must seek payment of unpaid bills from a deceased spouse’s estate before attempting to collect payment from the surviving spouse, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled recently.

Ohio woman sentenced for committing tax fraud

Tawnya Writesel, also known as Tawnya Rutan, 40, of Columbus, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 12 months and one day in prison and was ordered to pay more than $108,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for conspiring to submit false claims for income tax refunds with the IRS.

Ohio Attorney General's Office now accepting National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest entries

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is urging Ohio fifth graders and their teachers to take part in the 2019 National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest.

Trees to Textbooks invests in local schools, communities

Sixteen rural Ohio school districts and their corresponding counties and townships will share more than $2.3 million from the sale of timber from Ohio’s state forests, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).