We’re headed into the season for giving—a lot. But some Missourians might give a lot of themselves to the wrong people. Many mail boxes are not only crammed with catalogs and Christmas sales brochures, but also with invitations for recipients to remember the tax advantages of late-year charitable donations. The solicitation rings a bell with many of those recipients. But the attorney general consumer fraud office encourages people to give with their heads, not their hearts….and to look into the finances of the charities soliciting the money to make sure the money goes to the cause, not to the overhead of the corporation. All kinds of charities and non-profits are doing their fund-raising at this time of year. But consumer educator Travis Ford with the Attorney General’s office says one particular kind of solicitation deserves special caution.He says people need to ask telemarketers a lot of questions. Ford says it can be a giveaway if a charity is reluctant to divulge information about its finances or refuses to provide written information. He says a person should never give money to an organization unless all questions have been answered to the donor’s satisfaction. He says people cannot assume a charity is the real deal despite an impressive name or despite promises that it supports a cause in which someone has a personal interest. The Attorney General has a website that lists about 800 charities…so consumers can check on them and their financial operations.


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