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BBB Cautions About Connecticut School Shootings Charity Scams

Better Business Bureau gives advice on phony charity solicitations.

 

Charity scammers strike after violent tragedies such as the Colorado theater shootings and now the Newtown school shooting and the Better Business Bureau wants consumers to be on alert.

The BBB, serving Chicago and Northern Illinois, is warning consumers of the possibility of phony charity solicitations, supposedly on behalf of the families of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown last Friday.

According to reports, emails have been circulating asking for donations in the name of the young victims in the Dec. 14 shooting. 

The BBB recommends donors avoid giving to charities or funds through unsolicited phone calls, emails, texts or social media appeals.

 “Many people are interested in helping others by donating to a charity. Give wisely by checking on the organization before giving and make sure that your donation is being used for its intended purpose by a trustworthy charity,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.

The BBB recommends asking the following questions before choosing to donate to a specific charity:

Is this a charity I can trust? 

Look at the appeal carefully; some charities have similar sounding names. Don't be fooled by names that look impressive or that closely resemble the name of a well-known organization. Check with your appropriate state government authorities (this is usually a division of the state’s office of the attorney general) to verify the charity is registered to solicit in your state. 

How will the charity use my donation?

Beware of appeals that bring tears to your eyes but tell you little about what the charity is doing about the problem it describes so well.

Am I feeling pressured?

Don't succumb to pressure to give money on the spot, either immediately over the phone via credit card or by allowing a "runner" to pick up a contribution. Take the time to research the charity fully; the charity that needs your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow.

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance also provides information on whether a national charity meets the 20 BBB charity standards that address charity governance, finances, fund raising, donor privacy, and other accountability issues.

Additionally, the Connecticut BBB has provided some trustworthy charities to make donations to in this time of need:

Donations may be sent to:

Sandy Hook School Support Fund:

c/o Newtown Savings Banks

39 Main Street

Newtown, CT 06470.

Newtown Savings Bank collaboration working with the United Way and Red Cross:

Phone: 800-461-0672

Donations can also be made online at https://newtown.uwwesternct.org/.

The Newtown Rotary Club:

Donations can also be made online at http://www.newtownctrotary.org/.

For more advice on giving and to view reports on charities visit www.bbb.org/charity.

 

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