Just days after catastrophic floods, many South Carolinians are searching for ways to help victims. However, state officials are warning the would-be donors watch out for scams.
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs and Secretary of State Mark Hammond are warning donors to be on the lookout for fake charities in the coming weeks.
Here are a few tips to ensure donations get to those in need:
- Seek out a charity that needs your support and be cautious of groups that may approach you. To get more information on a particular charity, visit the SC Secretary of State’s Office at www.sos.sc.gov or call 1-888-CHARITI (242-7484).
- Donate to well-known charities. Watch out for charities that have sprung up overnight and do not assume a charity is legitimate based on its name.
Secretary of State Mark Hammond said checking how a charity spends their money can be a good way to determine what charity to donate to.
“You can see what percentage of your contribution is going to their program services and that should help you make wise decisions when you decide to give to charitable organizations to help those in need,” Hammond said.
If you receive a phone call from a professional solicitor, they must disclose the following information at the time of the call:
- that he/she is a paid solicitor
- the name, location and purpose of the charity
- the registered, true name of the professional fundraising organization for which he/she works
Hammond says do not provide personal or financial information to phone call solicitors. This includes your social security number, credit card and bank account numbers. If at any time you have legitimate suspicions of a particular charitable organization you are urged to contact the Secretary of State’s office.
“If someone feels uncomfortable they should not contribute to that organization. If they feel like someone is in violation of South Carolina statue then they should call the Secretary of State’s office,” Hammond said.
Hammond says he rallies behind our states willingness to help others but he wants to ensure that people are “giving smart.”
“I do not want to discourage people from giving. Were a very giving people that want to help others and that’s why there’s unfortunately people who come into this state and take advantage of that generosity and that’s what we do not want,” Hammond said.