Attorney General Kamala D. Harris is warning consumers to be careful where they give their donations during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this month.
Harris said there are several "sound-alike" organizations and scam artists that use donation campaigns to take advantage of people's good will.
The attorney general's office is offering tips when making donations for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
1. Avoid giving your credit card number to a telephone solicitor. Avoid giving cash to an individual or responding to an e-mail solicitation. Instead, seek out known organizations and give directly by calling the organization, visiting its official website, or mailing a check to the listed address.
2. Research an organization before you donate by visiting:
- California Attorney General's Registry of Charitable Trusts, http://oag.ca.gov/charities
- Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, www.give.org
- Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator.org
3. Learn about an organization by asking the right questions: Does the organization only support research? Does it fund community health programs? How are donations used? What percentage of donations is used for charitable activities?
4. Avoid generic claims like "Supports Breast Cancer Programs," and look for a name, label, or logo that you recognize and can verify.
5. Ask the organization not to store your credit card information.
For more information on charitable giving, go to http://ag.ca.gov/charities/charit_giving.php and anyone who believes they have been victimized by a fraudulent charitable solicitation should file a complaint online at http://ag.ca.gov/charities.php.