National Consumer Protection Week: Beware of Fake Charities Soliciting Your Donations, Including Social Media Charity Scams That Play on Your Emotions

“With sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter providing millions of users with images and stories of human suffering, the urge to donate can become overwhelming. No one understands this better than the con artists,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Criminals are constantly looking for ways to prey on the generosity of others and social media sites are prime hunting ground for them. Would-be donors must beware of scammers playing on their emotions for a profit.”

“Social media makes it easy to get swept up in a cause, whether it’s raising money for disaster victims or funding life-saving surgery for someone in a crowdfunding campaign,” said Steve Lee, Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Before consumers open their wallets, they should do some research to make sure their money is going to a legitimate cause, not into the pocket of a criminal.”

To avoid getting taken by phony causes and charities, consumers should follow these steps before donating:

Consumers are urged to report suspicious solicitations to their local police and to the Division of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.

Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling one of the numbers referenced above.

Follow the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office online at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube. The social media links provided are for reference only. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.


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