Be Wise And Avoid Marathon Charity Scams

7:35 AM, Apr 19, 2013   |    comments
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Emergency workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. (Photo: Charles Krupa, AP)
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  • WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- It did not take long before crooks took to Twitter with a bogus charity to steal money from people who may be moved to help victims of the Boston Marathon.

    The microblogger took swift action and removed it from the site, only to have another fake charity pop up shortly afterward.

    And, it's times like this that bring out these types of charity scams.

    WUSA 9 Call For Action partner Shirley Rooker is here to help you figure out whether a charity is legitimate or not.

    Rooker says, "The approach is likely to come through Internet or by telephone. The person claims to be with a charity that is raising money to aid victims of an attack, such as the one that occured in Boston.  

    The Red Flags

    The person tells you how urgent the need is and offers to send someone to pick up your donation.

    Your request for material on the charity is either ignored or the person hangs up on you.

    IC3 Beware Of Fraud Associated With Boston Marathon

    There is no information about how the money is going to be


    The request is for cash donations only.

    The approach is through a spam email.

    WUSA 9 Call For Action's Rooker says when someone solicits you for a donation you should always ask questions.

    How will your donation aid victims?

    Is the money going through a third organization that will provide the actual service?

    How much of the donation will be used for administrative costs?

    Is the organization tax exempt?

    What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

    Do not give our your credit card or bank information until you have established the legitimacy of the organization.

    Do not give cash.

    Do not buy items from telemarketers who promise that the proceeds are going to help the victims or their families.  Instead, give directly to the charity and cut out the middle man.

    Charity Navigator Guide To Giving

    Take a very careful look at the name of the charity.  There are bogus charities that have "look-alike" names that are similar to well known charities.  If you aren't sure of the charity's name, look it up on the Internet or in a phone book.

    FTC Warns Consumers of Charity Scams

    In addition, there are "look-alike" web addresses that may be one letter different from the legitimate charity.  Or a letter may be transposed in the web address.

    The bogus calls, emails and Websites are just starting.  Be forewarned, and check out any request for donations.

    While you may be eager to help people in need, take the time to make sure your donation will really help and not just line the pockets of a crook.

    Better Business Bureau

    We Americans are very generous people and rise to the occasion when there is a tremendous need. 

    American Institute of Philanthropy Charity Watchdog

    It's up to each of us to make sure our donations are used wisely.

    Written by:
    Shirley Rooker
    WUSA 9 Call For Action

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