The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) warns consumers to be wary when making donations this holiday season, especially if contacted over the phone or internet.
Be sure to ask the caller about the organization, especially what their purpose and services are and if your donation is tax-deductible and if you’ll receive a receipt. A legitimate charity or organization will be able to mail you information or send you to a website.
Here are some consumer tips from DATCP:
· Do not respond to unsolicited e-mails or texts, and do not give personal information to someone who contacts you via e-mail or text.
· Donate to well-known charities that are trusted and established. Only make a donation when you initiate contact and know who you are talking to.
· Do not feel pressured to make an immediate decision over the phone.
· When online, do not click on pop-ups or links asking for donations. These often lead to a fraudulent site.
· Never write out a check or give cash to an individual solicitor. Only write checks out to the organization name or use a credit card.
Confirm the organization soliciting donations in Wisconsin is registered with the Department of Safety and Professional Services. These organizations are required to register, and consumers can search for them online at dsps.wi.gov
Visit the Bureau of Consumer Protection’s website for more information or to file a consumer complaint at datcp.wisconsin.gov or by email at email@example.com
or call toll free at 1-800-422-7128.