COLUMBUS, OH — Social media and the internet force us all to update the way we think about giving. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost urges Ohioans to be generous with their pocketbook — and with their time in checking out those seeking donations during the holiday season.
“We all need to open our hearts, our wallets — and our eyes,” Yost said in a press release.
Each year brings new, easier ways to give to charities with smartphones and social media. Ohioans can encounter numerous third-party platforms that facilitate charitable donations, including popular social media platforms, crowdfunding sites, giving portals and even within gaming live-streams.
Here are tips to be aware of:
-Do not assume that charity recommendations on social media sites have already been vetted. Donors should research the charity, including whether it is registered, on the “Research Charities” section on the attorney general’s website.
-Be cautious of “look-alike” websites and charities with names that sound similar to well-known organizations. Sometimes they are simply intended to confuse donors.
-Make sure the donation website is secure. Look for the “s” in “https” at the beginning of the web address, which means the site is secure.
-Watch out for emotional appeals. Scammers know it just takes a click to donate online and can capitalize on the convenience and spirit of giving with fake pictures and stories.
-Determine what percentage of the donation will go to the charity and whether there will be any fees for donating.
Residents with questions about charitable registration should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-282-0515 or through email at CharitableRegistration@OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.