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State Attorney General Rob Bonta travels to Santa Barbara to offer holiday consumer tips and warnings

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Unity Shoppe in Santa Barbara was the backdrop for a high-profile visit Tuesday by California's Attorney General Rob Bonta.

He hosted a press conference highlighting tips on how to avoid scams while making charitable donations this holiday season.   

"We're a better society when we look out for those who are struggling and need a hand of friendship, support," said Bonta. "And there are non-profits that do this everyday when no one's looking."

Tom Reed, Unity Shoppe's Executive Director, gives Attorney General Bonta a tour (Beth Farnsworth/KEYT)

Bonta, the first person of Filipino descent and the second Asian-American to occupy the position, is hop-scotching through a handful of California cities, sharing key things to keep in mind before making a donation, whether it's in-person or online.

"I'm encouraging folks to be generous, to give your time, give, if you can, donations to non-profits to help them do their important work and accomplish their important missions."

The Attorney General highlighted nine tips:

*Check registration status on DOJ website.

*Give to organizations you trust.

*Be wary of social networking fundraising.

*Don't be pressured by telemarketers and ask questions before donating.

*Be vigilant when donating after natural disasters or tragedies.

*Watch out for similar-sounding names, web addresses, and other deceptive tactics.

*Know the difference between "tax-exempt" nonprofit and tax-deductible.

*Consider the costs of gifts and merchandise.

*Protect your identity.

Complaints can be filed with the Attorney General's Office at oag.ca.gov/charities/complaints

The Attorney General shared why he is taking a personal interest in charitable donations, and scams, during the holidays.

"There's so much division in this world, in this nation and extremism at times. But, there's so much about us that brings us together. There's much more that brings us together that we share in common than what sets us apart. So, let's focus on that. And part of that is lifting up our fellow Californians, our fellow human beings that share the human condition and this is a time when our generosity can really make a difference in someone's life."

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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about Beth, click here

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