Things To Do On An Annual Basis

LivingPower Newsletter, Jan./Feb. 2023

As 2023 began, no doubt many of you made New Year’s Resolutions, and probably a few of those resolutions have already been broken. But resolutions don’t have to be life-changing nor do they have to begin with the start of the new year. There are many things you can do throughout the year to improve the quality of your life. The following are a few items that can be done during the year that can make your life better and possibly healthier.

  1. Clean your closet and drawers and get rid of anything you haven’t worn in at least a year, anything that doesn’t fit you, or anything that is too worn or ripped to repair. Donate what you can.
  2. Visit the last town you lived. Remember why you don’t live there anymore. Feel grateful for what you have in comparison to what you had.
  3. Go somewhere you’ve never been before, someplace you’ve always wanted to see but never did. In the coming editions of LivingPower, we’ll be highlighting interesting places here in North Carolina.
  4. Volunteer. It’s good for your soul, your mind, your heart, and your community. NCRGEA is working with Meals on Wheels for a big event in March that you can volunteer to be a part of. More on that to follow.
  5. Make a new friend — a real friend. Find things you have in common and do things together. One of the benefits of being a member of NCRGEA is the opportunity to meet people you have something in common with, you’re all state or local government retirees. Get your NCRGEA district’s Community Advisory Board, or CAB, to organize social events.
  6. Make all the doctor, dentist, and other appointments that are so easy to blow off. Take a look at your health coverage. Medical needs can change from year to year, so make sure the coverage you have meets the needs you have now and in the future. Contact our benefits partner AMBA to see if they can assist you.
  7. Rewatch your favorite movie, or reread your favorite book — and see if there’s now something else that jumps out at you with either age, experience, or simply new eyes. Then tell your new friend about it.
  8. Go somewhere really nice to eat. Dress up for it. It could be a “date” or a night out with friends, hopefully, ones you met through NCRGEA.
  9. Try something you’ve sworn all your life that you absolutely hate — but maybe just never really gave a chance.
  10. Make a conscious effort to thank all the people you might be taking for granted in your day-to-day life.
  11. Learn how to cook a new meal. Invite people over to share it with you.
  12. Spend time in nature, whether that’s on a day hike on a nearby trail, or a few days camping with your family and friends.
  13. Go to a museum, see a band or a sports game live, or watch a play or a musical. Experience culture without the help of technology.
  14. Give flowers to someone you love and appreciate.
  15. Reach out to someone you admire. Build a connection. See what you might be able to learn from them — and even how you might be able to help them, too.
  16. Try to make amends with someone with whom you might have had a falling out. If you can’t fix the relationship, at least let that wound heal as healthfully as possible.
  17. Ask yourself if you’re happy. And if you’re not, ask yourself what might help you work towards getting there, and then make it happen.
  18. Give yourself a self-administered fitness test. Consider instituting a tradition in which you challenge yourself to a set of physical tasks to see how you measure up.
  19. Take your pet to the vet and include blood work in the checkup. It’s a good way to get ahead of any health issues that could arise, ensure your pet is up-to-date on any necessary vaccinations, and get valuable insights into how your pet is doing.
  20. Find out what your credit score is by getting an annual free credit check. Also, schedule a visit with a financial advisor or your bank to review your money and your plans that may have occurred over the course of the year.
  21. Drain your hot water heater. It will help it last longer by eliminating any minerals or debris that have built up and could cause the unit to break down.
  22. Get your home’s carpets, rugs, and upholstery cleaned with steamers, a soapy bucket, a rented machine, or professionals. Other yearly cleanups include emptying the gutters and cleaning the fireplace and chimney.
  23. Once a year, bring in a professional to check out your car, air conditioning units, furnace, roof, gas appliances, the exterior of your house and pipes. Termite inspections should happen on the regular, too.
  24. To make sure smoke detectors are always in top form, test them monthly and replace batteries every year.

District Community Connections

LivingPower Newsletter, Jan./Feb. 2023

Fellow Retirees,

Dr. Deryl Davis Fulmer, Community Liason

During the last six months, we offered virtual informational sessions on the “Basics of Medicare,” “The Letter,” and “Protecting your Information Online.” Members have really responded to these important informational sessions and indicated that we should continue to offer this service. Please check the NCRGEA website and Facebook page for up-to-date information and upcoming 2023 opportunities.

During the first seven days in November, I joined the NCRGEA road trip for five District Conferences, where we met hundreds of you in person. It was amazing to have your energy in the room and to receive a warm welcome. We were immediately reminded of the importance of engaging with you. Meals on Wheels also joined us, and we witnessed many of you signing up to volunteer for your local agency or to receive services. The Meals on Wheels representatives were appreciative of your interest and support, especially given the fact that many North Carolinians are experiencing food insecurity as well as isolation. Stay tuned for more opportunities to get involved.

Community Advisory Board (CAB) Update

We are searching for five members in each of our nine districts to join our Community Advisory Boards (CABs). These volunteer positions will give you the opportunity to meet new friends, offer ideas for your district’s informational sessions, and suggest ideas for gatherings such as coffee chats or Social Days. We value your time, so there will only be two virtual meetings per year and you will have an opportunity to help shape local member engagement. Please contact me at to become a CAB volunteer leader and enjoy the perks of being involved and serving your district. Many of you are already involved and your insight has been a valuable asset to NCRGEA.

In January and February, we begin with celebrations and honors for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday and Black History Month. As I reflect on the importance of both of these events and the Civil Rights Movement, I want to share that they have special significance for me. My father, Rev. Dr. Grady Davis, Sr., and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were close friends from Boston University, where both pursued their doctoral degrees in the early 1950s. Thus, my family was privileged to know him as a normal person, not recognizing the incredible importance of his life until much later. To my siblings and me, he was just the “Alabama Man,” while he stayed at our house. Being active and engaged in the movement was a part of life during the 50’s, 60’s and into the 70’s, and the recognition of these important months is both personal and widespread. Many of you were quite involved as well, and I want to encourage you to tell us your stories as we begin celebrating the heritage of Black Americans throughout the country. Dad was an NC Public Servant and served on the Board of Paroles from 1973-1977. He was identified as one of the foot soldiers of the Durham Civil Rights Movement. On July 30, 2022, he posthumously received the Joe Biden Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award.

We are all public servants of North Carolina and have greatly contributed to the quality of life and freedoms that we are afforded today. We will look forward to hearing from you regarding your stories
throughout the year!

And, finally, please stay tuned about the “March for Meals” during the week of March 20-24, 2023. It will be a great opportunity to volunteer to support Meals on Wheels across the state. More information will be forthcoming on how you can get involved.

Happy New Year! Happy Valentine’s Day!


All Goals Accomplished With District Conferences

LivingPower Newsletter, Jan./Feb. 2023

During the first week of November, North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association held five district conferences. More than 850 members attended and heard from a variety of presenters what the association is doing for them, what state services are available to assist them, and what sponsors can provide them with to make their retired years less stressful.

Keith Daugherty, seated, a field representative with
AMBA, assists a Shelby conference attendee in
completing a form. AMBA was one of 13 different
organizations represented at the NCRGEA district
conferences that answered attendees’ questions
and assisted them with issues.

The conferences were held in Concord, Shelby, Winston Salem, Fayetteville, and Morehead City in order to reach members from throughout the state.

“We had three goals for each conference, and I’m happy to say we met each of them at every meeting,” said Tim O’Connell, NCRGEA’s Executive Director. “The first goal was to learn from our presenters, our NCRGEA team, and from each other.”

Thirteen different organizations were present during the conferences and had information tables set up where members could get help and information about the services available to them. Before the conference formally began and between breaks as well as during lunch, the representatives were busy assisting members.

North Carolina’s Department of Insurance and the State’s Treasure’s Office were present to help members on a one-on-one basis to solve issues they had. Service representatives from Humana, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, the State Employees’ Credit Union, the Local Government Federal Credit Union, and NCRGEA’s partner AMBA answered countless questions about their services. Many of the organizations also spoke to the group about issues they saw members facing, such as fraud schemes, and how they can assist in legal and financial planning matters.

“The meeting, information tables, and presentations were very informative,” wrote one attendee at the Fayetteville conference. “I learned new things that I can use.”

The second goal of the conferences was to make friends.

More than 600 NCRGEA members attended the
conference meetings held last November. The
Winston-Salem conference, shown here, had the
largest crowd with more than 215 attendees.

“One of our goals as an association is to bring retirees together,” O’Connell said. “This way they can share ideas about retired life, about ways we can make the association stronger and responsive to their needs, and what they need us to concentrate on on their behalf. From the table talk I heard and the feedback we got from members; we were successful.”

The last goal of the conferences was to eat good food. To ensure this was accomplished, each event was catered based on the head count of those who responded to the invitations.

In addition to meeting the three goals of the conferences, the feedback from the surveys was overwhelmingly positive.

Seventy percent of those responding to the survey said they attended the conferences for educational purposes and were satisfied with the results. Of those surveyed, just over 55% came to
find out about their benefits. Asked if they would attend another district conference, more than 86%
of those surveyed said they would.

One attendee in Winston Salem wrote, “I am fairly recently retired and wanted to learn more about the organization. The conference was very well organized and informative.”

Another attendee in Concord said in his/her survey, “Gained insight, and motivated me to be more active in seeking information and supporting this group.”

“From the results of the surveys, speaking to attendees, and feedback from our presenters, I feel confident we met most of the needs of our attendees,” said O’Connell. “We learned a lot, too, and will make a few changes in order to make conferences in the future even better. One of the changes we’re considering is to open the conferences up beyond district borders and allow members from throughout the state to attend any conference, regardless of where it’s located. Along those same lines, another possible change is to hold three conferences in the Spring and three in the Fall with one each in the Mountains, the Piedmont, and the Coastal Plain.

By making these changes, we hope to reach more members on a face-to-face basis so we can
get firsthand knowledge on what our members’ needs are and what they want from us.”

NCRGEA Prioritizes Its 2023 Legislative Agenda

LivingPower Newsletter, Jan./Feb. 2023

Last October at the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association’s Board of Directors meeting, Linda Suggs, Chairman of the Government Relations Committee, presented the committee’s recommendations for 2023 legislative priorities, which the full NCRGEA board unanimously approved. The list consisted of six items that focus on the quality of life of North Carolina’s retired state and local public servants.

Advocating for annual cost of living adjustments for all government retirees, state and local, was their top priority.

In presenting the proposed legislative agenda for 2023, “Working for a COLA for state and local retirees will always be number one on our list of legislative goals.”

“In the past 10 years, retired state employees’ COLA totaled only 2% and local government employee’s COLA increased by less than 1%,” said Tim O’Connell, NCRGEA’s Executive Director. “During this same 10-year period, inflation has eroded buying power by 29.8%, severely undermining North Carolinians’ ability to cover their expenses on a declining value of their fixed retirement income.”

The expansion of the Bailey tax exemption act for state and local government retirees and the
pursuit of other tax exemption opportunities is another of the committee’s priorities.

Under the Bailey Act, if you qualified for the NC state pension system or federal pension system, including military, for at least five years as of August 12, 1989, the money you receive from that pension is considered tax-exempt.

“Expanding the Bailey Act to local government and more state retirees would be a win for all parties involved,” Suggs added. “Our retirees would have more disposable income; this aligns with many political platforms of lowering taxes, and the state’s retirement fund remains sustainable because no additional funds are going out of it.”

During the recent district conferences, this effort was briefed to attendees by NCRGEA’s lobbyists and warmly received by attendees. Comments supporting our expansion efforts were the second most popular comments after increasing COLA.

Another of the committee’s priorities is to strengthen the state’s benefit plan to attract and retain the best and brightest public servants.

This issue is gaining attention. The Raleigh News & Observer ran an editorial on this issue on December 1, 2022. The Op-Ed piece states, “As benefits shrink and private sector wages rise, the state government is struggling to attract and keep workers who provide both basic and essential services. State agencies are reporting vacancy rates as high as 20-, 30-, and 40-percent.”

Linking COLA and the public servant vacancies issues together, NCRGEA’s O’Connell was quoted in the Op-Ed with, “The promise of what a pension would deliver upon retirement is not there the way it was for folks who retired 20 or 30 years ago.”

Two other priorities of the Government Relations Committee actually support each other: increasing in-person and telehealth access, improving health outcomes for retirees, and expanding first, middle, and last-mile broadband opportunities to provide increased, dependable, affordable access to broadband.

“In recent years, we have added improving health outcomes for retirees through increasing in-person and telehealth access and supporting affordable broadband access to our list of legislative priorities,” said Suggs.

Telehealth can allow patients to hold their medical appointments with doctors and medical personnel from their homes. This works best if the home has broadband capabilities.

The committee’s sixth priority is to continue to ensure the state of North Carolina will fulfill its constitutional requirement to fully fund North Carolina Retirement Systems and the State Health Plan.

“The North Carolina Retirement System (NCRS) is widely regarded as one of the best-funded in the nation,” said Frank Lester, Deputy Treasurer for Communications and Government Affairs. “In fact, Moody’s Investors Service reported that NCRS is the best-funded in the nation when looking at its Adjusted Net Pension Liability.

Additionally, a recent “stress test” by The Pew Charitable Trusts concluded that North Carolina’s state pension fund is well-positioned to maintain solvency during tough economic times.”

According to Lester, the State Health Plan is underfunded but getting healthier. Between June 30, 2021 and June 30, 2022, the deficit shrank by more than $7 billion according to a report by The Segal Group.

“Our goals are always focused on maintaining the quality of life for our state and local retirees, who provided such dedicated service to all North Carolinians during their working years,” said Suggs.

Insurance Update

Great news! There were no premium increases or changes to the dental plans with the Standard Dental coverage that uses the Ameritas network of providers.

We also still have Superior vision as our eye care provider, and even though there was no change to the cost of the vision care coverage, we have gotten a reduction in the co-payment. The co-payment cost has been reduced from $20 to $10. This is for the exam and the materials (up to the noted limits).

Since we did not have any changes, NCRGEA did not have an open enrollment this year. If you are satisfied with your current dental and vision coverage, no action is required and your policies will continue just as they are now. If you want to make any changes, such as add, drop, enroll or cancel, you may do so at any time.

Please keep in mind all the wonderful benefits that are included (free) with your NCRGEA membership:

  • Superior Vision Discount Card (acts as a coupon with providers who will accept it)
  • Start Hearing Inc Discount Hearing Program (referring you to hearing providers in your area and discounted materials)
  • NCRGEA’s $10,000 Accidental Death and Dismemberment Policy (cause of death must state accidental on the death certificate and be reported within 365 days of accident or death)

We are always looking for more benefit options for our members, and that’s why we partnered with AMBA. You may have already received a mailing, email or phone call from them regarding supplemental benefits. AMBA can provide you with many different supplemental benefits, such as:

  • Home Health Care Insurance
  • Long Term Care Insurance
  • Medicare Solutions
  • Cancer, Heart & Stroke Accident and Disability Insurances
  • Hospital Stay Coverage
  • Medical Air Services Association (MASA)
  • Final Expense Whole Life & Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance

If you have any questions, want to enroll in or need help with your benefits, please contact our call center with AMBA for:

Please refer to our website for more details on the Standard Dental, Superior Vision and supplemental benefits.

Managing Debt in Retirement

As of 2022, nearly half of all Americans expect to retire with debt. If you’re dealing with debt in retirement, having a clear understanding of your loans and a strong management plan means debt doesn’t have to derail your retirement goals. Here are some things to know about managing your debt so you can take control and be confident in your financial future.

Understand your debt

First, not all debt is created equal. Over the years you may have accumulated both “good debt” and “bad debt.”

“Good debt” generally refers to the money borrowed as an investment in yourself and your future, while “bad debt” is the money owed on depreciating assets, often at a high interest rate.

Prioritize your payments

Once you’ve identified which of your debts are good and which are bad, it’s important to prioritize your payments. Paying off loans with higher interest rates first means you will pay less over time. If you have the means, make more than the minimum payment on these high-interest loans.

You can also consider refinancing your loans for terms that better fit your retirement income and lifestyle. When you refinance, you may be able to get a lower rate and a more manageable payment schedule.

Make the most of your income

Once you’ve made a plan for managing your debt, smart financial choices can help keep you on track.

Downsize your dream home

If home prices are rising, you’d be wise to downsize rather than splurge on your dream retirement home. Plus, a smaller home could lower your utility bills and upkeep expenses in addition to lowered property taxes and mortgage payment.

Find supplemental income

If your retirement income doesn’t cover your debt payments and still afford you a comfortable lifestyle, you may want to consider finding a supplemental source of income. Marketing and monetizing your skills and expertise can be a fulfilling way to spend your time and bring in some extra cash.

Be consistent

This one might sound obvious, but being consistent with your payments is the most important thing you can do to manage your debt. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it may be wise to seek a financial planner to help you build a personalized management strategy.

Visit for more good ways to manage your money.

Vaccines: Where You Get Them Determines How Much You Pay

Your Group Medicare plan provides coverage for vaccines, but that coverage depends on the specific vaccine and where you get it.

Knowing how your coverage works may save you from paying for vaccines out of pocket.

At your provider’s office the Medicare Part B portion of your plan pays for the following vaccines at your provider’s office and at the pharmacy:

  • Influenza (flu) vaccine—once per season
  • Pneumococcal vaccines
  • Hepatitis B vaccines for persons at increased risk of hepatitis
  • Vaccines directly related to the treatment of an injury or direct exposure to a disease or condition, such as rabies and tetanus.

At a network pharmacy the Medicare Part D portion of your plan covers all commercially available vaccines—except for those covered by Part B—as long as the vaccine is reasonable and necessary to prevent illness.

Important information for your pharmacist

Let your pharmacist know to use BIN 015581 and PCN 03200000 when filling your prescription for items covered under Part D.

Get vaccines like the ones listed below at a network pharmacy. If you get them at your doctor’s office, you’ll pay the full cost of the vaccine out of pocket.

Here are some common vaccines that you should get at your pharmacy, not from your doctor.

  • Shingles
  • Tdap (If you need a tetanus shot due to injury, Medicare Part B will cover that from your doctor.)
  • Hepatitis A

Because vaccines are covered differently at the provider’s office and the pharmacy, you may want to call first to understand how your insurance covers a specific vaccine.

Call the Customer Care number on the back of your Humana member ID card or sign in to

Pension Dollars Keep Rural Communities Alive

Driving along the interstates throughout North Carolina you can see the growing skylines of the cities and construction of new business. It’s not until you start driving down the smaller state maintained highways that you start to come into the more than 450 towns within our state with populations fewer than 10,000. Towns that aren’t nearly as prosperous as their neighbors on the interstates. These are the towns with the shrinking populations.

“National economic trends coupled with population declines have had a devasting impact on many small towns and rural areas across America. Often, the largest employer in these smaller towns is a public entity like a school system or municipality that employs teachers, nurses, firefighters, and public safety officials. These public employees spend their career serving their communities at a time when a growing number of young workers are leaving their hometowns for job opportunities in urban areas,” said Dan Doonan, National Institute on Retirement Security executive director.

These are the town that are more dependent on the incomes of its residents than on the tax revenues brought in from major corporations and big developments. These are the towns where the residents that worked there for the community are more likely to retire there. And these are the towns where their public pension benefits go beyond the retirees and their families. Their benefit dollars also play a critical role in supporting the local economies.

Retired public employees spend their pension income in their towns on goods and services like housing, food, medicine and clothing, which serves as a stable source of economic activity in smaller communities

Dan Doonan, NIRS executive director

Research by the NIRS revealed that, in absolute terms, the greatest number of public pension recipients and, therefore, public pension benefit dollars, reside in big cities. But because the economies in the cities are large and complex, the economic impact of pension benefit dollars is modest. However, in small towns and rural areas where the economies are more dependent on the income of its residents, the economic impact of pension benefit dollars goes farther.

The NIRS examined the economic impact of public pension benefit dollars at the county level in 2,922 counties across 43 states representing every region of the country. North Carolina was one of the seven states that was not included in the research.

The analysis of the data reveals that pension benefit dollars account for an average of 1.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in those counties. NIRS believes this is because many rural areas have agriculture-dependent economies. Farms often are described as “asset rich, but cash poor.” This means that the value of the land, equipment, and goods produced is high, but the monthly cash income of the farmers is relatively low. Therefore, the pension benefit dollars in these counties represent a greater portion of personal income than GDP.

Likewise, the benefit dollars make up an average of 1.25% of the total personal income in the counties. Therefore, GDP and total personal income derived by pensions are why these communities experienced the greatest relative economic benefit from public pension benefit dollars.

“Eventually, public employees in rural and smaller communities retire and typically stay in their hometown. Retired public employees spend their pension income in their towns on goods and services like housing, food, medicine and clothing, which serves as a stable source of economic activity in smaller communities. Our analysis clearly indicates that pension spending provides a substantial economic impact on struggling small towns and rural communities across the nation,” Doonan explained.

The NRIS analysis reveals two interesting effects taking place in rural counties concerning pension benefits. Pension benefit dollars provide metropolitan and rural counties similar levels of GDP, but rural areas have a greater percentage of personal income from pension dollars.

Additionally, the conversation about public pensions should not focus solely on the dollars contributed to the plans, it also must acknowledge substantial economic impact they have across the state, especially in the rural areas.

Great News, The Check Is in the Mail

By State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA

The budget enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed by Gov. Roy Cooper earlier this year allowed for a one-time supplement to be paid to retirees of the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS), Consolidated Judicial Retirement System (CJRS), and the Legislative Retirement System (LRS). In addition, the General Assembly passed a bill allowing the Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System (LGERS) Board of Trustees to consider a one-time supplemental payment for LGERS retirees provided there were sufficient funds from investment gains to pay for it.

The one-time supplemental payments will be distributed as a part of the monthly pension payments to eligible TSERS and LGERS retirees and benefit recipients in October. Regular payments will return to the levels they would have been without the supplemental payment in November.

There is often confusion about the way COLAs or one-time supplements are considered. While we are all public servants in the state of North Carolina, there are seven retirement systems with different rules, laws and guidelines.

As it relates to COLAs or one-time supplements, TSERS’, CJRS’ and LRS’ payments are granted by the General Assembly. LGERS supplements are paid for by the local governmental employer. With the passage of Senate Bill 311, I was able to recommend a solution that is fiscally responsible, providing LGERS’ retirees a one-time benefit without increasing rates for the cities and counties across the state.

Our job is to keep the retirement system solvent for this and the next generation of those who teach, protect and serve -and every decision made by me, staff and the Boards of Trustees is made with a member-first mentality.

I encourage you to visit our website,, and view Trending Topics. Here you will find important information about the October one-time supplements and other retirement matters.

Retirement is a big part of what we do at the Department of State Treasurer (DST), but did you know there are several other divisions and programs that work hard for you and others in North Carolina? DST includes the Office of State Treasurer, Retirement Systems Division, Financial Operations Division, Investment Management Division, State and Local Government Finance Division, Unclaimed Property Division (NC Cash), State Health Plan, Supplemental Retirement Plans and the NC ABLE Program. Each of these work together to make a difference for the citizens of North Carolina.

The role of the Treasurer has always had widespread influence and impact in our state. I am fortunate to have been able to accomplish many things, including reducing costs and fees, increasing transparency and making sure that this benefit is available for current and future public service employees. I stand on the shoulders of staff, Boards of Trustees and previous Treasurers who have conservatively managed the pension plan, making it one of the best funded in the world.

Giving Back Without Getting Scammed

By Attorney General Josh Stein

As we approach the holidays, people are at their most generous. We spend time with loved ones, buy gifts for each other, and strengthen our communities through charitable donations. Unfortunately, scammers know this, and they come out of the woodwork to try to take advantage of people’s generosity. Take precautions to make sure your donations go where you want and not to line some scammer’s pocket.

Before you give, do your research on the charity or organization. It’s a good idea to donate to charities that you are personally familiar with or that operate visibly in your community. If researching online, double check that the charity’s URL is legitimate by looking for a lock icon and an “https:” in the address bar. Copycat websites and apps will resemble a business’s brand name closely or have a URL that is similar to the real thing.

Don’t respond to unsolicited emails, text messages, and social media posts asking you to give. Although the cause may sound worthy of your hard-earned money, taking the time to verify an organization’s legitimacy is worth it.

Be careful of calls from charity fundraisers. Some telemarketers keep up to 90% of the money they collect for charities. Your money will go further if you give directly to the real charity, not to hired fundraisers. Also, scammers will often try to pressure you into donating. Remember that legitimate fundraisers will not push you to make a donation immediately.

If you are unsure whether a charity is the real deal, you can call my office’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM to check whether the charity has complaints against it, or you can call the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office to check its license. You can also research a charity’s ratings and history using resources including the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.

Once you have chosen and verified a charity, it is best to pay by credit card for security and tax purposes. If you decide to pay by check, always make it out to the charity and not an individual.

For more information on common charity scams and how to avoid them, visit And if you think you or someone you know has been the victim of a scam, file a complaint with my office’s Consumer Protection Division at complaint or by phone at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM. The holiday season is a special time of year, and I hope this season brings joy to you and your loved ones.