Attorney General warns against Typhoon Haiyan relief scams

By WEEK Producer

Attorney General warns against Typhoon Haiyan relief scams

November 13, 2013 Updated Nov 13, 2013 at 12:25 PM CDT

CHICAGO, Ill. -- Attorney General Lisa Madigan urged residents who plan to donate to Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts to be wary of scams.

“In the wake of such massive destruction, people understandably want to do what they can to help others in need,” Madigan said. “Unfortunately, scam artists try to take advantage of this goodwill."

To ensure that your donation will be used for its intended purpose, Madigan suggested the following tips:

- Ask how much of your donation will go to the charity and how much will be used to pay fundraising costs. Solicitors must give you this information if you ask.

- Pay close attention to the name of the charity. Some fraudulent charities use names that sound or look like those of legitimate organizations to mislead you.

- Ask detailed questions about the charity. Donate only when your questions have been answered and you are certain your money will be used according to your wishes. Ask questions like whether the charity is registered with the Illinois Attorney General’s office and what percentage of the money the charity takes in goes to fundraising, administration and charitable programming.

- Do not pay in cash. For security and tax record purposes, pay by check. Be sure to write the full official name of the charity on your check—do not abbreviate.

- Request written information. A legitimate charity will provide you with information outlining its mission, how your donation will be distributed, and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.

- Do not donate if the solicitor uses high-pressure tactics, asks for cash payment or insists on sending someone to pick up your donation. These are all hallmarks of a scam.

Report suspicious solicitations to the Attorney General office’s Charitable Trust Bureau by calling (312) 814-2595.

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