ATLANTA – Secretary of State Brian Kemp is working with law enforcement partners, the Federal Trade Commission, and Attorney General Chris Carr to identify and shut down multiple websites established by bad actors posing as a fraudulent and non-existent nonprofit called “Atlanta Human Rights Foundation.” The Secretary of State’s Charities Division has issued an emergency cease and desist order attached to this release.
“It is beyond shameful that con artists would set up a fake entity in the name of human rights when their real objective is stealing money and taking advantage of charitable donors,” stated Secretary Kemp. “Working with Attorney General Chris Carr’s office, FTC officials, and key stakeholders, I have taken decisive action to stop these bad actors in their tracks. We will shut down this type of unlawful activity, and we are encouraging anyone with information about these criminals to contact us immediately.”
According to documents reviewed by the Secretary of State’s office, scammers invited non-native English speakers from abroad to a fictitious “AHRF World Conference” in Atlanta, hosted by the“Atlanta Human Rights Foundation” at a “Norwich Hotel,” purportedly located on Marietta Street. In the correspondence, the “Atlanta Human Rights Foundation” offered to cover round-trip airfare and provide visa assistance, but actually sought to steal money by asking for payments via wire transfers to reserve lodging accommodations. The Atlanta Human Rights Foundation, AHRF 2018 World Conference, and Norwich Hotel Downtown Atlanta do not exist.
The Georgia Secretary of State encourages individuals not only to be aware of this conference invitation scam but remain vigilant in spotting similar attempts. If you receive an invitation to a conference or a solicitation from an unknown organization, check it out first. Solicitations requiring individuals to make payment via money transfer services prior to receiving the services or products offered should raise concern. Be wary of unsolicited telephone calls or emails seeking contributions. Do not respond to unsolicited emails, and do not open any attachments. These attachments may contain viruses.
Always give with confidence by researching a charity’s ratings at the Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Watch, or Charity Navigator. See what other people say about a particular non-profit and search the charity’s name online with the word “scam” or “complaint.” Never pay with cash, gift card, or wire transfer.
Georgians suspicious of solicitations should contact the Secretary of State’s Charities Division at (404) 654-6021 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Scams can also be reported to the BBB Scam Tracker and the Federal Trade Commission (domestic and international). The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division handles complaints from consumers against businesses.
Brian Kemp has been Secretary of State since January 2010. The Secretary of State is charged with conducting secure, accessible, and fair elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities, charities, and professional license holders. For more information about the office, go to www.sos.ga.gov.