City of Cerritos logo

Skip to Content | Footer | Accessibility

E-News signup for e-mail/text updates


Prevent charity fraud

Updated December 23, 2009

Many organizations seek donations from the public. While most of these charities are legitimate, there are individuals who will attempt to solicit funds for their own personal gain. The Cerritos Sheriff’s Station/Community Safety Center offers the following tips for potential donors to ensure their money is used for its intended purpose.

  • Be familiar with the charity to which you are making a donation.
  • Keep careful records of all of your donations so that you can identify who you have and have not donated to in the past. This can be helpful if you are ever approached by a charity that claims you made a pledge in the past that you cannot remember making.
  • Ask for the charity’s tax-exempt letter indicating its Internal Revenue Service (IRS) status. You cannot claim a tax-deductible donation if the charity is not recognized as such by the IRS.
  • Never give cash. Make your contribution using a check payable to the full name of the charity.
  • Give out your credit card number only if you are certain that you are dealing with a legitimate charity. Make sure that the numbers will be encrypted for your protection.
  • Never give your Social Security number to a charity. A charity does not need that information in order for you to claim a tax deduction.
  • Report to the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station any suspicious person going door-to-door seeking funds or property. This is a common method to fraudulently obtain monies or goods, and is also used as a means to scout around or "case" potential victims for residential burglaries. Deputies have the ability to check these people out and determine whether they are either credible or not.

Back to Article Top