The Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office joins state charity regulators across the country, the National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to announce the first annual International Charity Fraud Awareness Week (ICFAW) on October 22-26, 2018. ICFAW is a coordinated international campaign to help charities and consumers avoid charity fraud and promote wise giving. Follow the action at #CharityFraudOut. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and other U.S. partners are joining the Charities Commission for England & Wales, which for many years has hosted its own Charity Fraud Awareness Week, to expand the event to other countries.  In addition to the U.S. participants, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, the New Zealand Charities Service, and the Office of the Scottish Regulator are also joining in the international outreach effort. “Our number one goal is always to provide information to help citizens ensure the money they are donating is going to those who need it the most—and not a fraudulent entity,” Secretary Hosemann said. “Citizens are encouraged to check charities on our website or call us before they donate if they have a question about charity registration and regulation in Mississippi.” Throughout International Charity Fraud Awareness Week, the Secretary of State’s Office’s Facebook and Twitter pages will feature tips for consumers. General tips for consumers considering donating to a charity include:
  • Ask for the charity’s name, website, and physical location;
  • Ask how much of any donation will go to the charitable program you want to support;
  • Check the Secretary of State’s website to see whether the charity is registered in Mississippi;
  • Search the charity’s name online with the word “scam” or “complaint.” See what other people say about it;
  • Check out the charity’s ratings at the Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Watch, or Charity Navigator;
  • Never pay with cash, a gift card, or by wiring money; and
  • Consider paying by credit card, but never over the phone, and only after receipt of written information you can verify.
For more information about registered charities in Mississippi, visit www.sos.ms.gov/charities or call (601) 359-1599.