In recognition of International Charity Fraud Awareness Week, Secretary of State Tre Hargett reminds Tennesseans of resources available from his office to help people avoid scams.
"The Volunteer State is filled with people who want to support each other and the causes we believe in through charitable giving," said Secretary Hargett. "Unfortunately, there are people out there that will take advantage of that spirit of giving. It's important to make sure an organization is legitimate before making a donation and we have resources that can help."
To help you avoid charity fraud and maximize your donation's impact, the Secretary of State's Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming created a Wise Giving Tips video available on our website, sos.tn.gov/charitable.
The Wise Giving Tips are:
- If a nonprofit asks you for a contribution, make sure it is legitimate by checking to see if it's registered with the state at sos.tn.gov/charitable or by calling 615-741-2555.
- Take your time. Resist pressure to give on the spot.
- Ask questions. If an organization has a specific mission, ask how and who will benefit from your donation.
- If you are asked for a donation via text or email, verify the request is directly from the charity or nonprofit.
- Do your research and don't assume a social media or blog recommendation has been approved by the nonprofit.
- If you give through an app or website, ask if it is going directly to the organization.
- Avoid giving cash. Always ask for a receipt and if your contribution is tax deductible.
- Pay close attention to the name of the nonprofit organization, as there are many with similar names.
- Don't forget there are many ways to give, such as volunteering your time.
- If a paid fundraiser asks you for a donation, ask how much is kept by the fundraiser and how much goes to the nonprofit.
Any charity that raises over $50,000 a year must register with the State of Tennessee. To see if a charity is registered, visit sos.tn.gov/charitable or call 615-741-2555.
Please report any false, misleading or deceptive fundraising activity to the Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming at 615-741-2555.