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TN Secretary of State helping residents avoid charity fraud

Oct. 17-21 is International Charity Fraud Awareness Week. Secretary Tre Hargett has tips to help Tennesseans avoid scams when donating.
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett is hoping to help Tennesseans avoid charity scams and maximize their donation's impact. 

The Secretary of State's Division of Business and Charitable Organizations created a Wise Giving Tips video on its website. 

The tips are as follows:

  •  If a nonprofit asks you for a contribution, check to see if it's registered with the State of Tennessee on the Secretary of State's website or by calling 615-741-2555.
  • Take your time. Resist pressure to give on the spot.
  •  Ask questions. If an organization has a specific mission, ask how and who will benefit from your donation.
  • If you are asked for a donation via text or email, verify the request is directly from the charity or nonprofit.
  • Do your own research and don't assume a social media or blog recommendation has been approved by the nonprofit.
  • If you give through an app or website, make sure your donation is going directly to the organization.
  • Avoid giving cash. Always ask for a receipt and if your contribution is tax-deductible.
  • Pay close attention to the name of the nonprofit organization. There are many organizations with similar names.
  • Don't forget there are many ways to give, such as volunteering your time.
  • If a paid fundraiser asks you for a donation, ask how much is kept by the fundraiser and how much goes to the nonprofit.

"Unfortunately, there are scammers out there who set up fake organizations to take advantage of Tennesseans' generosity. It's important to ensure an organization is legitimate before making a donation," Hargett said. 

Any charity that raises over $50,000 a year must register with the state.

Hargett asks that residents report any false, misleading or deceptive fundraising activity to the Division of Business and Charitable Organizations at 615-741-2555.


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