Beware of Scammers Exploiting the COVID-19 Virus
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold is warning Coloradans to beware of possible charity scams during the COVID-19 public health crisis and is offering guidance for safe giving to those impacted by the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 public health crisis is tremendously impacting all of Colorado,” said Secretary Griswold. “Unfortunately, in times of crisis like this, we’ve seen scams looking to exploit Coloradans’ generosity. I encourage Coloradans to continue to give to those in need, but do so wisely by making sure their donations are going to the right place.”
If you decide to make a financial contribution, the Secretary of State’s Office offers the following wise giving tips:
- When giving to a charity, it’s important to confirm the organization is registered and current at checkthecharity.com.
- When receiving solicitation calls, ask if the caller is a paid solicitor, and if so, ask for their name and the name of their company, the paid solicitor’s registration number which can be verified here, and the percent of your donation that will go to charity. If they refuse to give you any of this information, do not give to that charity.
- Be on alert of newly formed charitable organizations. These may be formed with the best of intentions, but an existing charity is more likely have the sound management and experience to quickly respond to the situation, and it will have a track record which you can review.
- Make a note of the representations made regarding how your donation would be used, e.g. what charitable purposes or programs would benefit and whether or not anyone will benefit locally. Call the charity itself to confirm the details of the solicitation and any local benefits.
- Watch out for charities with names that sound similar to well-known, reputable organizations. Sometimes these sound-alike names are simply intended to confuse donors.
- Do not assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs or other social media have already been vetted.
- Be wary if a charity fails to provide detailed information about its identity, mission, and finances and how the donation will be used. Reputable charities will gladly provide the information requested.
- Do not pay in cash. Donate by check made payable to the charity or use the charity’s website to donate by credit card.
If you believe that you have been solicited by a fraudulent charity, you can file a complaint with the Secretary of State or the Attorney General.
Attorney General, 1-800-222-4444, coag.gov
Secretary of State, 303-894-2200, www.sos.state.co.us
More resources for helpful tips include:
Internet and Social Media Solicitations
Charities and Fundraisers FAQs
Search to see if a charity or solicitor is registered in Colorado