Watch for ‘look-alike’ websites
California Attorney General Rob Bonta offered tips this week on how to donate safely and avoid charity fraud by taking steps to ensure donations go to legitimate causes during the holiday season.
Bonta’s office has primary regulatory oversight of charities and professional fundraisers who solicit on their behalf in California.
At a news conference Monday at the Downtown Women’s Center in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles, Bonta encouraged donors to make sure their donations get into the correct hands.
“Every holiday season, the generosity of Californians is on full display,” the AG said. “Up and down our state, they donate their time and hard-earned money to charitable organizations doing incredibly important work. The Downtown Women’s Center is one of those organizations, and I want to thank them for partnering with us as we share tips to avoid charity scams.”
Bonta said people can donate safely by checking the charity’s registration status, giving to trusted organizations, avoiding pressure from telemarketers, being cautious of “look-alike” and fake websites and emails, being wary of social network fundraising, and protecting their personal information.
By partnering with the Downtown Women’s Center for the announcement, Bonta helped raise awareness of “women and gender-diverse individuals experiencing homelessness,” Amy Turk, CEO of the center, said.
Bonta said that at a time when California “is facing a housing shortage and affordability crisis of epic proportions, we recognize and appreciate the commitment of the Downtown Women’s Center in serving women experiencing homelessness.”
If you believe that a charity or fundraiser has acted in bad faith, report it immediately at oag.ca.gov/charities/complaints.
For more information on how to protect yourself against charity fraud, visit the AG’s donation tips webpage at oag.ca.gov/donations.