Make Sure You Don’t Get Scammed on Giving Tuesday

Giving TuesdayPress release from California’s Attorney General:

Ahead of Giving Tuesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today provided tips to Californians on how to avoid becoming the victim of charity scams. The California Attorney General has the primary responsibility for supervising charities and the professional fundraisers who solicit on their behalf. Under Government Code section 12598, the Attorney General may investigate and bring legal actions against charities that misuse charitable assets or engage in fraudulent fundraising practices.

“As Californians give back to our communities this holiday season, it’s important to ensure the charities that support causes near and dear to our hearts are the real deal,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Unfortunately, some bad actors will try to take advantage of this generosity. I urge all Californians to be vigilant and do a little research to ensure that their charitable giving goes directly to those who need the help and not to unscrupulous scam artists.”

Donation Tips

  • Check Registration Status: Charities operating in California and telemarketers soliciting donations in California are required to register with the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts. They are also required to file annual financial reports. Confirm that the charity is registered and up-to-date with its financial reporting by searching the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts at
  • Give to Organizations You Trust: Do your research before giving. Review the charity’s purpose and its financial records, available on the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts, and find out how it spends donations. How much is spent directly on the charitable cause? How much goes to overhead and employee compensation? Research charities in your community and support those charities that make a positive impact.
  • Don’t Be Pressured By Telemarketers; Ask Questions Before Donating: If you receive a call from a telemarketer, ask for the name of the fundraising organization, whether it is registered with the Attorney General’s Office, the name of the charity benefitting from the solicitation, how much of your donation will go to charity and how much to the telemarketer, and the direct telephone number of the charity. If the telemarketer tells you the donation is for your local animal shelter, hospital, school, police, firefighting or other public safety agency, check directly with the benefitting organization to confirm that it authorized the solicitation and will actually benefit from your donation. Don’t fall for pressure tactics or threats. Remember you have the right to reject the donation appeal and if you feel pressured or threatened, just hang up.
  • Be Cautious Of “Look-Alike” Websites: These fraudulent websites may have a slightly different web address (URL). Similar looking URLs are sometimes purchased to lure in would-be donors. These sites may ask for personal information or install harmful material onto your device.
  • Watch Out For Similar-Sounding Names And Other Deceptive Tactics: Some organizations use names that closely resemble those of well-established charitable organizations to mislead donors. Be skeptical if someone thanks you for a pledge you never made. Check your records. Remember: current registration status with the Attorney General’s Office does not mean the Attorney General endorses or has approved the activities of the organization.
  • Be Wary Of Social Network Fundraising: If you are planning to donate through a social network solicitation, find out what percentage is going to the charity, whether you will be charged a fee, or if a percentage of your donation will be paid to the platform website.
  • Protect Your Identity: Never give your social security number or other personal information in response to a charitable solicitation. Never give out credit card information to an organization unfamiliar to you. Some organizations sell or rent their donor lists to other organizations, including organizations that are not charities. Look at the charity’s privacy policy and learn whom the charity might share your information with before you provide it.


  • “…find out what percentage is going to charity…” AMEN!
    I’ve always shared with charities, and I started looking at their stats many years ago. The ones that have consistently passed my “Sniff Test” are Human Rights Watch, ACLU, Sea Shepherd, K-MUD, and the Humane Center for Inland Mendocino. There are others, of course, but I would hope these in particular get the readers’ attention.

  • unbridled phillistine

    It is getting so terrible these days with all the scamms! Had a Indian from India call me the other day and told me the IRS is filling a law suit against me! lol I kept him on the line for over an hour telling him I was going to pay! Called him out! He laughed at me said I cant do shit! So i said I reported him to Homeland security, Told them he admitted the funds were for terrorism, He freaked out! Felt so good to get over on him.

  • Don’t get scammed.
    Give to the organization that gives to you EVERYDAY!
    Support one of the important entities that helps ALL OF US!!
    Be one of the GOOD PEOPLE!
    Do the right thing on Giving Tuesday!

  • Hey Kim,

    I know it’s in Mendo but how about the home invasion of 60 something woman in Laytonville by 3 African Americans from the Bay Area? If it walks like a duck….

  • Yes, I sincerely wonder how much “medical” pot this person grew last summer, and who knew…

    MEANWHILE, give to local, known charities such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, your local hospices and hospitals, and avoid ANYTHING on the internet! Many local hospitals have foundations, and some of these organizations are honest, competent and legally operated. Avoid local “non-profits” of Mendo and Humboldt, although there may be hope for some of them, like the Mateel… Programs like GoFundMe are straight up scams 99% of the time…

    Mostly, I avoid giving to organized charities, preferring to pay my taxes and support State and Federal charities such as AFDC, SSI, housing for the elderly, and Federal Health Clinics. I occasionally will hand a dollar to a beggar, but usually not to men, and never out the window of my car. “Professional beggars” make me sick, after 41 years of continuously working for the the “poor and disadvantaged and sick”, and at 65, I fear for the “give me” society in this country!

    If you have plenty, give till you feel good. If you have little, work till you have enough. This is how things should be. And, in a very rich country, it’s easy to make money, so get with it!

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