Arizona Attorney General

Mark Brnovich



Scam Alert – Beware of Phony Charities

(Phoenix, Ariz.) As the holiday season approaches, Attorney General Terry Goddard reminded Arizonans to be cautious when donating, especially to telephone solicitations. Some phone solicitations which say they are calling for a charity are outright scams.

“At the holidays, people want to donate to a good cause,” Goddard said. “Please be careful so that your contributions really benefit the people and organizations you intend help.”

Watch for the following warning signs that the charity might not be legitimate:

  • Asking for an immediate donation by requesting your bank account or credit card numbers over the phone
  • Calls soliciting funds that coincide with important national or local events, e.g., devastating fires, or national tragedies. Scam artists will try to take advantage of your sympathy for those who suffered during the event
  • Fundraisers who offer to personally come to your home and pick up your donation
  • Fundraisers who refuse to send written information to back up their charitable claims
  • Fundraisers thanking you for previous pledges that you did not make
  • Fundraisers who will not disclose whether they are telemarketers or employees of the charity
  • Fundraisers who are unwilling to disclose what percentage of every dollar collected goes to the actual beneficiaries of the charity and what goes to overhead

The following tips are good practices when you are getting ready to donate to a charitable organization:

  • Research the organization soliciting funds
  • Ask for reports on how their money is spent
  • Check with the Secretary of State to be sure they are registered
  • Ask for a receipt showing the amount of your contribution and a tax deductible statement
  • Avoid cash gifts. The Attorney General’s Office recommends that you pay by check, made payable to the organization, never to the solicitor

“There are many great charitable organizations in our community which deserve our support. I want to make sure Arizona consumers get their contributions where they will do the most good and not enrich scam artists,” Goddard said. “Doing a bit of homework goes a long way to ensuring the right people benefit from your charitable gift.”

Any Arizona consumer who believes they have been a victim of a charitable scam can contact the Attorney General’s Office at and submit an online “Consumer Complaint.”