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Tennesseans urged to use caution when donating to storm victims; watch for scammers

 In the wake of devastating tornadoes that hit Davidson, Putnam and Wilson counties, Secretary of State Tre Hargett is urging people to use caution when trying to help those affected.

“Tennesseans are generous and support each other in times of need, and I encourage everyone to be diligent when donating money to charitable organizations,” said Secretary Hargett. ” Unfortunately, there are scam artists who prey on our generosity after a disaster. Tennesseans should give wisely so that we maximize recovery efforts.”

Secretary Hargett encourages Tennesseans to review these Wise Giving Tips from the Secretary of State’s Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming before donating:

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  • If a nonprofit asks you for a contribution, check to see if it’s registered online sos.tn.gov/charitable or by calling 615-741-2555.
  • Take your time. Resist pressure to give on the spot.
  • Ask Questions. If an organization has a specific mission, ask how and who will benefit from your donation.
  • If you are asked for a donation via text or email, verify the request is directly from the charity or nonprofit.
  • Do your own research and don’t assume a social media or blog recommendation has been approved by the nonprofit.
  • If you give through an app or website, ask if it is going directly to the organization.
  • Avoid giving cash. Always ask for a receipt and if your contribution is tax deductible.
  • Pay close attention to the name of the nonprofit organization, as there are many with similar names.
  • Don’t forget there are many ways to give, such as volunteering your time.
  • If a paid fundraiser asks you for a donation, ask how much is kept by the fundraiser and how much goes to the nonprofit.

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those affected by Tuesday’s devastating tornadoes, especially those who’ve lost loved ones, along with all of the volunteers and uniformed men and women who are tirelessly helping others during the ongoing recovery effort,” Secretary Hargett said.

Any charity that raises over $50,000 a year must register with the Secretary of State’s Division of Charitable Solicitations. To see if a charity is registered with the State of Tennessee visit, sos.tn.gov/charitable or call the Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming 615-741-2555.

As Tennessee’s charity officials, please report any false, misleading or deceptive fundraising activity to the Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming at 615-741-2555.

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