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Giving Tuesday Donors Urged to do Their Research


Now more than ever, charities need your help.

The COVID-19 pandemic taken its toll on major fundraising events and non-profits are depending on your donations to keep the organizations going.

Unfortunately, there are also those that want to take advantage of your giving spirit.

Lara Sutherlin is the administrator of Wisconsin Division of Trade and Consumer Protection. She says there are two ways people typcially take advantage.

One is through phone or email scams, where you think you are giving to a charity but in actuality it’s going to a scammer.

The other, less obvious one, is organizations set up like charities, but your money isn’t really going towards helping people.

“One good thing to do is to research the organization that you’re looking forward to giving money to with the search term complaint or reviews or scam to see if there’s anything out there already about this charity that your just learned about and are intrigued by to see if there’s anything wrong with it,” said Sutherlin.

Sutherlin says giving to non-profits you’re familiar with is usually a safe bet.

If you think you’ve come across a charity that’s a fraud, you are encouraged to file a complaint.

“Either filing a complaint with DATCP or filing a complaint with DFI, the Department of Financial Institutions will be your best bet. We are in constant communication with each other about these things and working in tandem to address charity fraud,” said Sutherlin.

DATCP says you should look out for phone calls or emails that don’t seem legitimate.

If you get a call asking for money, don’t pay over the phone. Hang up and do your research.

DATCP says you shouldn’t click on links or attachments in an email with an organization you’re unfamiliar with. Instead, go directly to the website.

“Often times you can tell if it’s a fraudulent link  by hovering your mouse over the link, it may say YMCA or some other organization that you recognize, but they when you hover your mouse over it. It has a very strange URL,” said Sutherlin.

Sutherlin’s best piece of advice when selecting a non-profit to donate to is do your research.

There are several sites DATCP recommends like Charity Navigator and Give.org. You can also learn about identifying legitimate organizations on DATCP’s and DFI’s websites.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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