The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


November 24, 2013


Giving. That little word is evident as part of the holiday we will celebrate in just a few days — Thanks-giving.

On that day, we give thanks for all manner of things. There is the obvious: our families, our health, our jobs, our homes. For each individual, there are other, more personal thanks to be given.

As Thanksgiving Day passes and we race on toward Christmas, our thoughts turn to another sort of giving — holiday charities.

The people of southern West Virginia are always generous at this time of year.

Just Friday night, the United Way’s fifth annual Wonderland of Trees raised thousands of dollars to help the organization fund the 34 agencies it services.

Because of your generosity, babies will have diapers, a battered woman can get herself and her children into a safer environment, a family down on its luck can have heat. The needs served by the United Way are seemingly endless, but those needs are met because of you.

In December, Mac’s Toy Fund will host its 83rd annual toy giveaway for the children of Raleigh County who might not otherwise have a very happy holiday.

Even when the recession was at its height, Mac’s faithful donors did not fail to provide the dollars needed to make those sad little faces smile with delight.

The Salvation Army, toy funds in Wyoming, Fayette and Summers counties, Toys for Tots, individual churches, the list of charities goes on and on.

And each and every one of them gives its thanks to you for what you do to help make their holiday efforts successful.

Unfortunately, there are bad apples whose presence could spoil things for the legitimate charities we’ve mentioned above and many others.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urges West Virginians to be cautious when choosing which charities to entrust with your money.

We echo his words.

By performing your due diligence and researching the charity before making the donation, you can avoid scammers.

These precautions are provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):

- Ask for detailed information about the charity, including name, address and telephone number.

- Get the exact name of the organization and do some research. Search the name of the organization online with the word “complaint(s)” or “scam” to find out its reputation.

- Call the charity. Find out if the organization is aware of the solicitation and has authorized the use of its name. The organization’s development staff should be able to help you.

- If the donation request is local, ask the local agency if they have authorized the group to solicit donations on their behalf.

Following these guidelines will give you peace of mind and will help ensure that the legitimate charities will receive the funds they need to complete their good work.

If you believe you have been solicited by a fraudulent charity, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office at 1-800-368-8808.

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