Raúl Torrez | Attorney General

GIVING TUESDAY ALERT: AG Balderas Warns New Mexicans to Avoid Charity Scams

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 27, 2017

Contact: James Hallinan (505) 660-2216

Santa Fe, NM – Ahead of Giving Tuesday, Attorney General Balderas issued a Scam Alert today to help New Mexicans avoid becoming the victim of charity scams.

“If you plan to make donations tomorrow for Giving Tuesday, make sure your money is going where it is intended,” Attorney General Balderas said. “New Mexicans are extremely generous and caring, but sadly there are countless scammers ready to take advantage of you on Giving Tuesday. Be diligent and contact our office if you have questions about a charity before you give.”

Donation Tips

Check Registration Status: Charities operating in New Mexico and telemarketers soliciting donations in New Mexico are required to register with the Attorney General’s Registry of

Charitable Organizations. They are also required to file annual financial reports. Confirm that the charity is registered and up-to-date with its financial reporting by searching the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Organizations at https://secure.nmag.gov/CharitySearch/. Send an email to charity.registrar@nmag.gov to find out registration status for any telemarketers.

Give to Organizations You Trust: Do your research before giving. Review the charity’s purpose and its financial records, available on the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable
Organizations, and find out how it spends donations. How much is spent directly on the charitable cause? How much goes to overhead and employee compensation? Research charities in your community and support those charities that make a positive impact.

Don’t Be Pressured By Telemarketers; Ask Questions Before Donating: If you receive a call from a telemarketer, ask for the name of the fundraising organization, whether it is registered with the Attorney General’s Office, the name of the charity benefitting from the solicitation, how much of your donation will go to charity and how much to the telemarketer, and the direct telephone number of the charity. If the telemarketer tells you the donation is for your local animal shelter, hospital, school, police, firefighting or other public safety agency, check directly with the benefitting organization to confirm that it authorized the solicitation and will actually benefit from your donation. Don’t fall for pressure tactics or threats. Remember you have the right to reject the donation appeal and if you feel pressured or threatened, just hang up.

Be Cautious Of “Look-Alike” Websites: These fraudulent websites may have a slightly different web address (URL) from those they imitate. Similar looking URLs are sometimes purchased to lure in would-be donors. These sites may ask for personal information or install harmful material onto your device.

Watch Out For Similar-Sounding Names And Other Deceptive Tactics: Some organizations use names that closely resemble those of well-established charitable organizations to mislead donors. Be skeptical if someone thanks you for a pledge you never made. Check your records. Remember: current registration status with the Attorney General’s Office does not mean the Office of the Attorney General endorses or has approved the activities of the organization.

Be Wary Of Social Network Fundraising: If you are planning to donate through a social network solicitation, find out what percentage is going to the charity, whether you will be
charged a fee, or if a percentage of your donation will be paid to the platform website.

Protect Your Identity: Never give your social security number or other personal information in response to a charitable solicitation. Never give out credit card information to an organization unfamiliar to you. Some organizations sell or rent their donor lists to other organizations, including organizations that are not charities. Look at the charity’s privacy policy and learn whom the charity might share your information with before you provide it.

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Raul Torrez

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