District Attorney Summer Stephan

As the holiday season rapidly approaches, we often reflect on what we are thankful for and how we can help others in need. Many of us get into the spirit of charitable giving and want to help organizations with generous donations for taking care of our community.

But not all charities are real: some are scams.

Last year, the District Attorney’s office received numerous consumer and charitable organization complaints about scammers posing as charities requesting money from donors during the holidays.

One person, for example, pretended to be from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and set up a booth outside of a grocery store to solicit money. He had no connection with the real charity, though, and was attempting to scam victims.

In another case involving a person our office prosecuted, a woman went door-to-door across the city soliciting money for a fake charity named “II Chance.” The scammer told potential victims that she was from the legitimate charity “Second Chance,” a great organization that gives justice-involved men, women and youth the life-saving resources they need to break the cycle of addiction, poverty and incarceration.

So how do you determine if charities are real or fake? Here are some tips:

  • Number one is asking questions.
  • Ask if the charity is registered with the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts.
  • All charities operating in California including telemarketers soliciting donations are required to…

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