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Officials Warn Of Charity Scams After Boston Marathon Tragedy

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen wants residents to be aware of potential scams before donating to charities following Monday's Boston Marathon tragedy.
Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen wants residents to be aware of potential scams before donating to charities following Monday's Boston Marathon tragedy. Photo Credit: File

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Connecticut’s Attorney General and Department of Consumer Protection are warning residents to watch out for potential charity scams after the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.

“As we’ve seen far too often after a tragedy such as this, bad actors may seek to exploit the situation and take advantage of those looking for a way to help,” Attorney General George Jepsen said in a press release. “We urge people to use their best judgment and take some simple precautions to ensure that their donations reach those in need.”

Legitimate charities in Massachusetts and Connecticut must register with their respective states. To confirm an organization’s status in either state, the public can check the databases of the Massachusetts Attorney General and the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection online.

Jepsen and Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein also offered a few tips for those interested in giving:

? Donate to well-known, established charities. Also, when donating online make sure to visit the official website of the organization, and not a “copycat” site designed to fool donors. The website Charity Navigator has confirmed links to many national charities.

? Avoid cash donations whenever possible. Use credit or debit cards or write a check directly to a charity. Do not write a check to an individual solicitor.

? Be cautious of phone calls, e-mails or social media posts claiming to represent a charity or victims. Do not open attachments from unsolicited e-mails or give out personal financial information over the phone.

? When giving to any organization, designate the preferred use for your donation (e.g. “for the families of Boston Marathon victims”), and do so in writing whenever possible.

? Do not feel pressured into making contributions; reputable charities do not use coercive tactics.  If you feel pressured at all, you are most likely being scammed.

The two also ask residents to report suspicious solicitors to both the local police and the Department of Consumer Protection at 1-800-842-2649.

“We all want to be certain that donations intended to support victims of this tragedy reach their intended goal, and are not diverted through fraudulent means,” Rubenstein said.

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