DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado Secretary of State Jenna Griswold is warning about charity scams related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (credit: CBS)

“The COVID-19 public health crisis is tremendously impacting all of Colorado,” Griswold said in a news release. “Unfortunately, in times of crisis like this, we’ve seen scams looking to exploit Coloradans’ generosity.”

The Secretary of State’s Office says when you are giving to a charity, it’s important to make sure the organization is registered. You can find out for sure at checkthecharity.com.

If someone calls you asking for a donation, ask if they are a paid solicitor. If they are, ask for their name and the name of their company as well the paid solicitor’s registration number. You can verify that here.

You should also ask how much of your donation actually goes to the charity. If they refuse to give you any of that information, don’t donate.

You should also be cautious of any new charitable organizations. While the intentions may may be good, an existing charity will likely have better management and know how to quickly respond to the situation. Those charities also have a track record you can check.

Also, watch out for charities that have names that sound similar to well-know organizations.

A social media recommendation does not mean the charity has been properly vetted.

And don’t pay in cash. Donate by check payable to the charity or through the website by credit card.

If you believe you’ve been solicited by a fraudulent charity, you can file a complaint with either the Secretary of State or the Attorney General:
Attorney General, 1-800-222-4444, coag.gov
Secretary of State, 303-894-2200, http://www.sos.state.co.us

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