(WTNH) — As shoppers are spending big at the stores this holiday season many choose to give a little to those in need as well. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection says people need to do their research before donating. Commissioner Jonathan Harris says charity scams are on the rise.
“We went from about 47 complaints involving charities last year and we’re already at 134 this year. They’re just ratcheting up. We will probably triple the amount of complaints,” said Harris.
The DCP says people should be on the look-out for red flags that a charity is not legitimate.
“All scams, you know, are kind of similar in the way their approach is. There’s usually some sort-of deception and then pressure,” said Harris.
Harris says if a charity is asking for cash only consumers should beware. The DCP says it is best to use a check and have a paper trail of your donation. Other warnings include a lack of proof that your donation will be tax deductible and if they are not giving sufficient information about their identity, mission, costs, and where your money is specifically going.
The DCP recommends looking up a charity at to see if they’re registered before sending any money.
“If you want to give the best things you can do is come up with a giving plan, something that fits into your budget. Stick to it. Research the charity,” said Harris.
Harris says other websites like charitywatch.org and Guidestar.org can be great resources.
If you think you have been scammed the DCP says be sure to file a complaint with them. Harris says they’re making strides to ensure that scammers do not get away with their practices.
“When things happen that hurt a person or business, that we’re able to take enforcement and send a message out to the marketplace if you get caught there is gonna be pain,” said Harris.