Consumer Advocate

Sign up for newsletters and other news
Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > March 2011 > Watch for tsunami scams

Consumer Advocate RSS feeds

Watch for tsunami scams


In the wake of the recent tsunami in Japan, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is warning Ohioans to watch for charitable giving scams.

Charitable scams tend to emerge after large-scale disasters, and Ohioans who want to help fund relief efforts need to be wary of scam artists trying to exploit their generosity.

For example, scammers might use names similar to those of well-regarded organizations, such as the “Red Cross of America” (instead of the American Red Cross) to make consumers believe they are the real organization.

Attorney General DeWine urges Ohioans to follow these guidelines for wise charitable giving:

  • Ask how your donation will be used.
  • Beware of alleged charities using names designed to be similar to larger, respected organizations.
  • Do not contribute to any charity that refuses to answer your questions.
  • Do not fall victim to high-pressure tactics.
  • Ask callers to send you written materials about the charity.
  • Do not give out personal information, such as credit card numbers, over the phone.
  • Do not pay in cash or make your donation payable to an individual.
  • Verify a real campaign or organization by calling the organization's headquarters directly.

The Charitable Law Section of the Attorney General's Office maintains a register of charitable organizations and professional solicitors that raise money in Ohio. Both must annually file informational returns or financial reports with the Attorney General's Office.

The Office also can take action against fraudulent charitable fundraising schemes.

To report questionable fundraising efforts, contact the Attorney General's Office at 800-282-0515.

For more information about good giving habits, visit


Research a charity – Better Business Bureau

Request a free Consumer Awareness Workshop – Ohio Attorney General

Sign up to receive the Consumer Advocate Newsletter – Ohio Attorney General