Attorney General Morrisey promotes safe giving amid COVID pandemic


CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urged generous consumers to give during the coronavirus pandemic but to do so safely. 

“Whether the fight is to recover from the disease itself or to deal with the financial blow of sudden unemployment, so many of our friends and neighbors are in the midst of real struggles,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “This is a crucial time to give to the charity of your choice. However, I urge those looking to give to do so safely and to make sure your contribution goes to the intended purpose.”

Those concerned about the legitimacy of a specific charity or organization should confirm it is registered to solicit donations. That information can be accessed through the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office. 

Consumers also can research charities online via www.charitynavigator.org or www.guidestar.org.

Additional tips to keep in mind when giving to charitable organizations: 

  • Never feel pressured to donate immediately.
  • Be suspicious of charities that ask for donations in cash or via wire transfer.
  • Consider paying by credit card, which is the safest option for security and tax purposes.
  • Ask how much of an individual donation directly supports coronavirus relief.
  • If the charity is unfamiliar, gather as much information as possible about the organization.
  • Never rely on a group's sympathetic sounding name or its similarity to a well-known, reputable entity.
  • Be wary of unsolicited calls that thank you for donations that you do not recall making.
  • Verify that any local chapter is authorized to solicit funds on behalf of its parent organization.
  • Go directly to a charity or organization’s website instead of clicking on a link to the desired group.
  • Any online contribution website should start with https://. The “s” verifies a secure connection, making it less likely for personal information to be stolen.
  • Be wary of any charity refusing to detail its mission, use of donations or proof of tax deductibility.
  • Keep records, including a letter confirming the charitable status of the organization, for contributions in excess of $250.

Any West Virginian solicited to donate to a charity they think may be fraudulent can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.

 

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