BBB Warns of Charity Scams in Wake of Boston Marathon Bombing

BBB Warns of Charity Scams in Wake of Boston Marathon Bombing

Posted: Updated:
Pensacola, Fla. -

At least one poorly-conceived charity scam has already emerged in the wake of the explosions at the Boston Marathon, and more are likely. According to Domains.com there were more than 125 new, Boston-related domain names registered by 7 p.m. late Monday night, not even six hours after news of the explosions first went public.

BBB urges donors to give thoughtfully and avoid those seeking to take advantage of the generosity of others.

Thoughtful Giving: Take the time to check out the charity to avoid wasting your generosity by donating to a questionable or poorly managed effort.

State Government Registration: Florida law requires charities to register with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer services before they solicit for charitable gifts. If the charity is not registered, that may be a significant red flag.

How Will Donations Be Used: Watch out for vague appeals that don't identify the intended use of funds. A trusted charity will be transparent on how they plan to use funds. Make sure that collected monies are received and administered by a third party such as a bank, CPA or lawyer. This will help provide oversight and ensure the collected funds are used appropriately

Newly Created or Established Organizations: An established charity will more likely have the experience to quickly address the circumstances and have a track record that can be evaluated. A newly formed organization may be well-meaning but will be difficult to check out and may not be well managed.

Tax Deductibility: Not all organizations collecting funds to assist this tragedy are tax exempt as charities under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions that are donor-restricted to help a specific individual/family are not deductible as charitable donations, even if the recipient organization is a charity.

For additional information on identity theft prevention and advice you can trust, start with bbb.org. 

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