Proos: Website helps avoid charity scams this giving season

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LANSING — Sen. John Proos is encouraging Southwest Michigan residents who are considering donating to a charity this holiday season to avoid scams by ensuring their chosen charitable organization is reputable.

“For many Southwest Michigan families Christmastime is the season for giving, especially to help those in need,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I urge all generous givers to beware of scams by verifying a charity ahead of time. Thankfully, the state attorney general’s office has a website to check charitable trusts. It is not definitive, but it can give you reasonable peace of mind that your hard-earned money will go to a good cause – and not into the pocket of those preying on your holiday spirit.”

Residents may verify charities at: www.ag.state.mi.us/CharitableTrust. The site allows you to search for a registered charity, public safety organization or professional fundraiser by name; or for a list of charities by purpose, geographical area or combination of factors.

Some organizations may not appear because they are not required to register to solicit donations in Michigan. If you have any questions about an organization or professional fundraiser that does not appear, please contact the Attorney General’s Charitable Trust Section at (517) 373-1152.

“The free site also offers a link to a list of tips for evaluating a charity,” Proos said. “It includes several pieces of good advice and helpful links for people interested in looking deeper into the finances of their preferred charity. One tip I would echo is volunteering. Many charities are always in need of volunteers, and it is a way to help your community while also learning more about the organization’s effectiveness.”

Residents who encounter a problem with a charitable organization may call the Michigan Attorney General’s Charitable Trust or contact Proos’ office by phone at (517) 373-6960 or by email at: senjproos@senate.michigan.gov.

Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Sen. Proos are available in the form of a podcast on the senator’s webpage at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”
 

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