AG’s Consumer Corner: Give wisely during holiday season

by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt

The holiday season is once again upon us. As we gather with our families to give thanks for our blessings over the past year, it is also the time of year we especially think of those in need.

Kansans are generous, giving people, with both their time and money. Whether it is volunteering time to serve your community or donating money to a worthy cause, these efforts make Kansas a great place to live.

Unfortunately, while there are many fine charitable organizations in our state worthy of our support, there are also scam artists who know that this is a tempting time of year to take advantage of Kansans’ giving spirit. Here are some helpful hints to make sure your donations go to support a good cause, not to a scammer’s pocket:

• Be cautious. Scammers often take advantage of recent tragedies to lure you into giving to a fake charity. Recently our office has received reports of solicitations for Ebola relief and help for areas hit by natural disasters. Instead of giving over the phone, ask them to send you information in writing so you can verify that the charity is legitimate.

• Plan your giving. Make a list of charitable organizations you want to support and a budget for how much you plan to give each organization. Do not wait for a solicitation to come by mail or the telephone and get pressured into making a donation.

• Do your homework. Take the time to research the organizations you are interested in. Most charitable organizations in the state are required by law to register with the Secretary of State’s Office. You can check a charity’s registration online at www.KsCharityCheck.org. On that website, you will also find helpful information about the organization, including how much of the money it raises goes to support the charitable purpose and how much is spent on fundraising expenses.

• Check with your tax preparer. If you’re planning on taking a tax deduction for your contribution, check with your tax preparer to make sure the organization qualifies to receive tax-deductible contributions.

• Document the transaction. Keep records of how much you donated and where you sent the check. Always give by check or credit card so the transaction can be traced. Never wire funds or send money on prepaid “cash cards.” Once money is sent by these methods, it is almost impossible to get it back.

For more safe giving tips, or to report a suspicious charity, visit the attorney general’s consumer protection website at www.InYourCornerKansas.org, or call 800-432-2310.

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Historic Westheight Manor Holiday Homes Tour planned

The Historic Westheight Manor Holiday Homes Tour will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, in the Westheight neighborhood of Kansas City, Kan.

Six historic homes will be on the one-day tour in the area located from North 18th Street to North 25th Street, State Avenue to Wood Avenue.

Historic Westheight Manor has one of the richest architectural histories in all of Kansas City, according to one of the organizers of the event.

Notable architects such as Louis S. Curtiss, Victor J.Defoe (who began his career with J.C. Nichols), Edward Buehler Delk (who also helped build the County Club Plaza), J.G. Braecklein and W.W. Rose all contributed to this unique community.

Tickets are $10 and may be purchased on the day of the tour at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1300 N. 18th St., Kansas City, Kan.

For more information, go to www.historicwestheight.org or call 913-621-4701.

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Single-digit wind chill readings start the day

Residents are braving single-digit wind chill readings on Monday morning.

At 8 a.m., the temperature was 19 degrees, a wind chill of 6, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather service expected the temperature to rise to a high of 27 later today. The winds will be from the northeast at 7 to 11 mph.

Tonight, expect a low of 18 with a northeast wind of 5 to 7 mph, becoming calm after midnight.

Tuesday, the weather changes again, with a warmup leading to a high near 40. The wind will be from the southeast, becoming south southwest from 6 to 11 mph on Tuesday morning.

Tuesday night, look for a low of 28.

Wednesday, the high will be near 43. Wednesday night, the low will be around 30.

On Thursday, the high will be around 39, and Thursday night, the low will be around 33.

A weekend warmup starts Friday, when the high will be around 45. Friday night, the temperature will be around 35.

Saturday, look for a high near 49, and Saturday night, a low of 37.

On Sunday, there will be a 40 percent chance of rain with a high near 49.

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