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West Virginia Attorney General’s office reminds consumers to donate wisely

The Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey reminds consumers to exercise caution when giving to charities this holiday season.

“This time of year is a popular time for charities to seek donations,” Morrisey said. “Before you give, make sure it is going to the desired charity.”

Anyone with questions about the legitimacy of a charity or organization can review the Secretary of State’s website to see if the charity is registered to solicit donations in West Virginia. Consumers may also research the charity on websites such as charitynavigator.org or guidestar.org.

Those making an online contribution should make sure the website starts with https:// when visiting the donation portal. This verifies a secure connection, making it less likely for personal information to be stolen.

Additional tips to keep in mind during the season of giving are:

— Never feel pressured to donate immediately.

— Be wary of charities that ask for donations in cash or via wire transfer.

— If the organization is unfamiliar, gather as much information as possible and do research.

— Be suspicious if organizations will not give additional information about its mission, how donations are used or proof that a contribution is tax deductible.

— Go directly to the charity or organization’s website instead of clicking on a link to the desired group.

— Keep records. Contributions exceeding $250 should result in a returned letter confirming the charitable status of the organization as well as the amount of the donation.

Anyone who feels as though they have been scammed while giving to a charity should call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.

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