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Connecticut BBB Cautions Consumers Who Want to Help Colorado Theater Shooting Victims

Con artists quickly set up shop in the wake of high-profile news stories to cheat well-meaning donors out of their money.

Be Careful and Do Research Before Making a Donation

In the wake of highly publicized tragedies, Connecticut Better Business Bureau reminds consumers to be selective and do their research before making a donation.

Con artists quickly set up shop in the wake of high-profile news stories ranging from natural disasters to the Aurora, Colorado theater shootings to try and cheat well-meaning donors. 

According to the federal consumer watchdog agency the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), criminals often solicit donations for non-existent charities or misrepresent how donated money will be used.  Phony appeals may come in the form of telephone calls, emails, on websites and through social networking.

The FTC Charity Checklist offers donors some tips to avoid getting stung by phony fundraisers:

  • Ask the telemarketer for the name of the charity they claim to represent
  • Never provide credit card information until you have verified the legitimacy of a fundraising campaign.
  • Ask for a receipt for the full donation amount for tax purposes.
  • Avoid cash gifts.  If you pay by check, make it payable to the charitable organization, not the solicitor.

The State of Colorado has established the Aurora Victim Relief Fund, which is accepting donations through the Community First Foundation website at www.givingfirst.org.

The FTC offers more information on avoiding charity fraud at www.ftc.gov/charityfraud.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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