Attorney General warns Illinois residents of Giving Tuesday donation scams

Illinois State Attorney General Kwame Raoul listens to public comment on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, at Joliet Area Historical Museum in Joliet, Ill. Illinois State Attorney General Kwame Raoul and his team held a small meeting with community members after his announcement of a civil investigation into the Joliet Police Department.

Illinois — Ahead of Giving Tuesday, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul released a statement warning potential donors to make “wise giving decisions” during the holiday season.

Under Illinois law, fundraisers and charitable organizations are required to register each year with the attorney general’s office.

“I encourage potential donors to review my Charitable Trust Bureau’s tips before making donations for Giving Tuesday and throughout the holiday season,” Raoul said in the release. “I will continue to advocate to inform generous consumers who give charitable donations to ensure their donations are used for the intended purpose.”

The attorney general’s office encouraged potential donors to take precautions including the following steps:

• Ask how much of your donation will go to the charity versus how much goes to the organization’s costs.

• Pay close attention to the names of charities, since some fraudulent organizations use similar names to real charities to fool people.

• Take caution when making donations online, especially when solicited through emails for charities helping victims of natural disasters.

• Make donations by check when possible for tax records.

• Do not donate to charities if a solicitor uses high pressure tactics or insists on sending someone to pick up your donation.

The attorney general’s office also said that people should not be afraid to ask questions about an organization before donating. Whether the question is how much of the donation goes to the charity, if the charity is register with the Illinois Attorney General’s office, or more information about how the money is used for a cause, solicitors must give you this information if you ask.

The public is advised not to donate to an organization unless their questions have been satisfactorily answered, according to the release.

Raoul recommended donors keep notes detailing the date and time of a solicitor phone call, the organization’s name, and the name of the solicitor. Raoul also advised donors to try remembering the pitch and any other pertinent information.

If residents encounter a solicitation they believe is a scam, or if they were scammed, they may report suspicious solicitations by contacting the Attorney General’s Charitable Trust Bureau online or by calling (312) 814-2595.