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Research Charities Prior to Donating


We’re in the heart of the season of giving – but some people are using that sentiment to their advantage. Department of Ag, Trade, and Consumer Protection Director Michelle Reinen reminds anyone looking to donate to take a closer look at the charities they plan on helping – because they may not be legitimate. 

Reinen tells us the scammers “just flip a word around, so that sounds like the one I’m used to – or they throw the name America or National or US in it and just throw you off guard. Last month we saw a series of names that were fake charities that all had some version of the word ‘veterans’ in it.”

Reinen advises consumers to do some online research prior to donating.

She tells us "you need to know what that organization really does and that it is a legitimate organization that really will help the people you want to help.”

There are several websites to check out whether a charity is real. 

Reinen recommends checking the group against information from “the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions – they are the state organization where a charity has to register in order to seek donations in Wisconsin. So it’s also a great place to establish that a charity is legitimate instead of just a ploy.”

Anyone who believes they may have been scammed or has been contacted by an illegitimate charity organization should report it to authorities. 

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