Duly Noted . . .

Schuette warns FlintUnleaded.org of possible solicitation violations

In a continued effort to protect Michigan residents and especially the residents of Flint against charity scams, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today issued a warning to the website FlintUnleaded.org and its owner Derek Jones, of Texas, due to potential charitable solicitations violations.

The warning addressed the lack of transparency regarding the persons or organization operating the website and warned against non-compliance with Michigan’s Charitable Organizations and Solicitations Act. Of particular concern, donations to the website purport to benefit a local nonprofit corporation, P.A.P.A.S. (Pick a Place and Start), but in 2015, that nonprofit was automatically dissolved by Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and had its 501(c)(3) status revoked by the IRS--actions resulting from the organization’s failure to file annual reports with state and federal governments.

“The people of Flint must continue to be the focus of our efforts,” said Schuette. “Individuals who try and take advantage of the giving spirit of those attempting to help will not be tolerated and I will continue to be on alert for charitable scams relating to the Flint Water Crisis.” 

Charitable Giving Scams

To help ensure the most of your charitable contribution is used to help Flint residents, take a minute to review the following steps:

—Be cautious of requests for donations by unfamiliar organizations or people.

—Beware of unsolicited phone calls, and text and email appeals on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

—Crowdfunding and other types of internet giving can be tools of tremendous good, but as with any type of giving it can be abused, so it's important to proceed with caution when donating online. A consumer alert with additional information and advice on crowdfunding is available on the Department of Attorney General website.

—Continue to reach out and help Flint residents but be sure to choose established charitable organizations with a history of helping those in need. The Michigan charitable giving database can be searched at http://www.ag.state.mi.us/CharitableTrust/