Utah officials warn public of scams, fake charities

Posted at 6:18 PM, May 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-02 20:18:50-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- When tragedy strikes, scam artists creep in to take advantage of people’s charitable side, but consumer protection officials say there is a way to fight back

"We like to say a con artist's worst nightmare is an educated consumer," said Daniel O'Bannon, Division of Consumer Protection Director.

That’s why, starting Sunday, the Utah Department of Consumer Protection will be running three television public service announcements. One of which will warn Utahns about donating to fake charities.

"Anytime a natural disaster happens there should be a red flag that goes up with charitable giving," O'Bannon said. "Not that you shouldn't give, but that you should be careful."

It's important to make sure you know where your money is going when you donate. By law, most charities need to be registered with the state. You can check out any charity online, here.

The other PSA forewarns Utahns of contractor mishaps while doing spring projects.

But scams could arise when you’re working on spring outdoor projects. The last one you'll see is a coaching warning, which is a rising issue in Utah.

“I'm hoping that fewer people will be taken advantage of because of these spots and they'll get the information and do their research ,” O’Bannon said.

And if you've fallen a victim to any of these three examples or have any questions, don't hesitate to contact the Division of Consumer Protection.