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TOPEKA – In light of the outpouring of support for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing this week, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt warns Kansans to be aware of possible scam artists seeking to profit from the generosity of others.
Attorney General Schmidt is joining Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley in encouraging contributors to use caution and seek out legitimate charities.
Images of the blast sites and stories of those injured or killed by the bombings have prompted many generous people to donate money in support of relief efforts. Schmidt warns the public to make sure they are donating to a reputable charity and to specify that a charity uses donations for intended purposes.
“Many people want to do whatever they can to help others in a time of tragedy and loss,” Schmidt said. “If that help is offered in the form of charitable donations, please donate wisely to established, legitimate charities.”
Here are a few simple tips for donating to avoid being scammed:
* Make donations to established organizations with a strong track record of organizing and providing charitable relief.
* Initiate the donation yourself, rather than responding to online or phone solicitations.
* Avoid door-to-door solicitors or offers from charities to stop by a consumer’s home to pick up a check. These too could be fraudulent.
* Do not fall prey to high-pressure pitches from solicitors. Legitimate charities allow you time to think about how much - and when - you choose to donate.
* Be aware of charities that ask for alternate forms of payment. Legitimate charities rarely if ever ask you to give by wire transfer.
* Go to www.kscharitycheck.org to see if the charity is registered with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office. Most charities are required by law to be registered before soliciting donations in Kansas.
The Kansas Attorney General’s Office is dedicated to consumer protection. More information on avoiding charity scams is available on the Attorney General’s website at www.ag.ks.gov or by calling 1-800-432-2310. Kansans who find fraudulent charities are encouraged to report them to the Attorney General’s office.