Attorney General Lisa Madigan urges Illinois residents who plan to donate to typhoon relief efforts underway in the Philippines to be on the lookout for fundraising scams by con artists seeking to exploit the natural disaster for their personal profit.
The attorney general’s office advised that donors who are seeking to give to relief efforts should be wary of requests for clothing, food or other questionable in-kind donations.
Unless the charitable organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid, the donations may be more of a burden than a help.
In addition, potential donors should find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Donors may want to ask questions to determine the ultimate recipients of the donations to ensure that the organizations are equipped to effectively provide aid.
Under Illinois law, fundraisers and charitable organizations are required to register each year with the attorney general’s office.
Pay close attention to the name of the charity, as some fraudulent charities use names that sound or look like those of legitimate organizations to mislead you.
Do not pay in cash. For security and tax record purposes, pay by check. Be sure to write the full official name of the charity on your check—do not abbreviate.
Do not donate if the solicitor uses high-pressure tactics, asks for cash payment or insists on sending someone to pick up your donation. These are all hallmarks of a scam.
Madigan encouraged donors to report suspicious solicitations to her office’s charitable trust bureau by calling 312-814-2595.