Fake charities: Don’t let scammers bank on your goodwill

MILWAUKEE -- This holiday season, two state agencies ask consumers to do their research on charities before making a contribution and to be leery of pushy phone-and internet-based requests for payments.

“Scammers see your goodwill as an opening to get into your wallet,” said Frank Frassetto, Division Administrator of Trade and Consumer Protection for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). “Be suspicious of aggressive, out-of-the-blue requests for donations and always take the time to learn more about a charity before making a payment.”

Before donating, check with DATCP about any consumer complaints on file against the organization and check to see if the charity is registered with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI).

“When consumers are making a decision to donate, they want to make sure that a high percentage of that donation is actually going to the service that is to be provided,” said Mary Ann McCoshen, Administrator of the DFI’s Division of Corporate and Consumer Services. “It’s easy to check out how a particular charity allocates their donations to programs by looking into their spending levels on the DFI website at www.wdfi.org/CharitableOrganizations.”

DATCP and DFI offer up these tips for donors considering a contribution to a charitable organization:

    For more information or to file a complaint, consumers may contact: