LOGO19 Scam Alert.jpg

INDIANAPOLIS — On Tuesday, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill warned people to be wary of charity scams and exercise caution if they want to make donations during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“Hoosiers, by their very nature and values, tend to be a generous people eager to help their neighbors in times of crisis,” Hill said in a press release. “Unfortunately, unscrupulous scammers attempt to take advantage of such good-heartedness.

“These con artists aim to trick unsuspecting donors out of their hard-earned money by posing as legitimate charities.”

Hill urged people to do their homework before making donations, make sure a charity is legitimate, recognize the signs of a charity scam and report if they have been scammed by a fake COVID-19-related charity.

Scams can be reported to the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. Additional information regarding the Office’s Consumer Protection Division is also available at 1-800-382-5516.

Hill released the following tips to avoid falling victim to deceptive schemes:

  • Carefully scrutinize requests from organizations seeking donations purporting to be for charity.
  • Don’t let names that sound like well-known charities confuse you or trick you into immediate donation. Beware of callers who claim to be endorsed by the state.
  • If reached by phone, do not agree to donate money without further research into the organization. Don’t be pressured to make a donation over the phone.
  • Research each organization or cause to which you might wish to donate.
  • Do not share personal information or financial information in response to unsolicited emails, texts or phone calls.
  • Be sure to ask how much of your donation will go directly to the program you want to help.
  • If you are making a donation, make it by check or credit card rather than cash.
  • Don’t assume solicitations on social media or crowdfunding sites are legitimate — or that hyperlinks are accurate — even in posts shared or liked by your friends. Contact your friends offline and request information about links they share.
  • Go to a charity’s verified website and consider donating directly through the website. Legitimate donation websites should begin with “https” rather than just “http.”

You can also look up a charity’s report and ratings on these websites:

Follow Traci L. Miller @_TraciMiller on Twitter, email her at traci.miller@heraldbulletin.com, or call her at 765-640-4805.

Recommended for you