How To Know If Sidewalk Solicitors Are Legit

CHICAGO (CBS) — They seem to be everywhere you look downtown; people who want to stop you and get you to give to their cause.

But how do you know which people collecting on the sidewalk are what the city calls legitimate? CBS 2’s Pamela Jones shows us.

Take a walk down State Street or even Michigan Avenue and you hear them.

They’re working to get you to stop, fill out a form and donate.

Theoretically, anyone could stand out on the sidewalk with a pad of paper and ask you for your information and for a handout.

Some of them are breaking a city ordinance requiring charities to have a permit to solicit on the street.

The City Council’s Finance Committee has a list of 33 groups that do hold charitable solicitation permits.

Greenpeace, the American Red Cross, Children’s International and the woman’s group “Fund for the Public Interest” are among them.

Many pedestrians said it’ll take more than a friendly handshake now, to get them to give.

Without a permit, how do you know these people are who they say they are?

One pedestrian said that, because she can’t know, “that’s why personally I wouldn’t give them any information or any money.”

Another pedestrian said, “If I am going to donate to a charity, I look them up on one of the websites.”

The city says it’s up to you to ask to see the permit. Groups with them have shown proof that they’ve registered with the Illinois Attorney General’s office as a real charity.

You can call 311 to report people who can’t show the permit and, if they’re breaking the law, they could be fined up to $1,000 a day.

  • Robert

    Ignore those annoying creeps on the street – once you stop – you become distracted and POOF – there goes your phone, wallet and everything else – Yes, this has happened to me and I will not tolerate any of you – EVER.

    My answer – a really loud – NO and if they approach me – an even louder – GET AWAY FROM ME

    If I am really interested in your group – I would have found them on the internet – and just because there are two of you in matching shirts – I am not going to talk to you and don’t you even think of sticking anything in my hand.

    The only person who should be stopping people on the street is the cop who is going to write you ticket for dumping your food wrappers as you walk away from the sandwich shop

  • bobby

    Street soliciting should be illegal in Chicago. Also, street musicians should play real instruments … not plastic buckets. In the summer there are already too many annoying people on the sidewalk as it is. Ticket the offenders!

  • Avalon

    Cbs edited this video wrongly my mother is in this video and at her job she doesn’t ask for donations her job simply ask people to take survey about some products and then the person gets cash for the survey …. But CBS had to edited this video and made my mom look like she answered a question that she didn’t… CBS owes my mother an apology she is on the verge of losing her job because of this..

  • Lastest Greenpeace News | Conserve Earth

    […] the sidewalk are what the city calls legitimate? CBS 2′s Pamela Jones shows us. Read more on CBS Chicago This entry was posted in Environment and tagged Greenpeace, Lastest, News. Bookmark the […]

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