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      Give generously, give wisely this holiday season

      Attorney General Mike DeWine / Ohio Attorney General's Office

      Some charities are quite generous in helping those who would otherwise go without this holiday season. Others are quite generous at helping themselves to the funds others have donated. Attorney General Mike DeWine wants you to know the difference.

      To help Ohioans make informed choices when making donations to charities, the attorney general has created the Online Charitiable Registration Search. This online research tool will tell potential donors if a charity is currently in good standing with the State of Ohio.

      Many Ohioans show their holiday spirit by making donations to charities and non-profit organizations." said DeWine. "Most are legitimate appeals and solicitations; however, if Ohioans are unsure of an organization . . .our Online Charitable Registration Search can provide useful information."

      Attorney General DeWine cautions Ohioans to be wary of scam charities this holiday season. Common warning signs of scams include:

      - Having a name similar to a well known, nationally recognized charity.

      - Soliciters using high pressure tactics for donations.

      - The soliciter is hesitant or unable to answer questions.

      - The caller offers to pick up donations immediately instead of waiting to receive them in the mail.

      - The caller offers prizes in return for donations.

      - The caller asks that the check be made payable to a person rather than the charity.

      DeWine reminds donors to never provide banking or credit card information to an unexpected telephone soliciter. He recommends that potential donors ask a number of questions and to review written information in advance of making a gift.

      If you suspect a charity is a fraud or have questions about a charity or a professional soliciter, contact the Attorney General's office at (800) 282-0515.