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It’s Not Always Better to Give; Nevadans Warned about Fraudulent Charitable Solicitations
Secretary of State warns, “Don’t let the holiday spirit replace your better judgment when it comes to giving;” new 2014 law requires nonprofits soliciting charitable contributions to register with SOS
Posted Date: 12/19/2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Catherine Lu, Public Information Officer 
             (702) 486-6982 / 334-7953 
             clu@sos.nv.gov  


(Carson City, NV; December 19, 2013) – The warm feeling that comes with giving to a worthy cause might be the only good effect of your generosity if you don’t take the time to make sure the charity your supporting is a legitimate one, according to Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller. The Secretary of State’s office is reminding Nevadans that not every solicitation for charity is legitimate, especially during the holiday season.

“Unfortunately, for scammers it’s become a holiday tradition to take advantage of people’s generosity by soliciting donations for less than reputable and even non-existent charities and causes,” said Miller. “It’s the time of year when we all want to do a little more, but don’t let the holiday spirit replace your better judgment when it comes to holiday giving. There are resources for checking on charities that you’re not familiar with or have questions about.”

Whether the solicitations come by mail, email, telephone or in person, there are warning signs to look for when you are asked for a donation: 

  • The solicitor may be unwilling or unable to give detailed information about the organization and how the donation will be used.
  • They’re unable or unwilling to provide proof that a contribution is tax deductible. 
  • The “charity” uses a name that closely resembles that of a better-known, reputable organization. 
  • Solicitors use high-pressure tactics to get you to donate immediately, leaving you no time to research the organization or cause 
  • Solicitations request donations in cash or ask you to wire money.

Non-profit organizations must be registered with the Secretary of State’s office as a nonprofit or foreign non-profit entity. Before making a charitable contribution, verify a nonprofit’s status by checking the Secretary of State’s website, www.nvsos.gov, or asking the charity for its Nevada business identification number. Current registration, however, is no guarantee that the business is doing legitimate charitable work as represented. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers easy-to-use resources at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0074-giving-charity#Signs.  

Beginning January 2014, a new law passed by the Nevada Legislature (AB 60) requires non-profit corporations that solicit charitable contributions to register with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office.

Under the new law, every nonprofit organization intending to solicit tax-deductible contributions must register with the Secretary of State before soliciting contributions. The registry, which will be accessible to the public through the Secretary of State’s website, will include names and telephone numbers of officers; the organization’s federal tax number; the purpose of the organization; and, its federal financial reports. In the meantime, however, well-meaning givers should beware.

“Just because the Grinch is wearing a red Santa hat doesn’t make him one of the good guys,” said Miller.

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