Do your Research Before Making Donations to Victims’ Family Funds
Memphis TN, December 18, 2012 – In the wake of last Friday’s tragic shootings inNewtown CT, the Better Business Bureau serving the Mid-South is alertingconsumers to reports of phony charity solicitations, supposedly on behalf ofthe families of victims of the Sandy Hook School shootings. Charity scammerstend to strike after natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, floods andearthquakes, as well as tragedies such as the Colorado theater shootings andnow the Newtown school massacre.
The BBB recommends donors todo their research before donating by following the tips below:
- Do your homework. Always research a charity at the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance website, www.give.org, before donating money.
- Select a charity yourself. Charity cheats will use every method at their disposal to reach out to generous Americans in times of tragedy. Rather than replying to a charity appeal, the BBB recommends choosing a well-known charity or one that has been endorsed by local or state authorities in the aftermath of a tragedy.
- Contact charities directly. Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts, emails or social media posts. These may take you to lookalike websites where you will be asked to provide financial information. Phony sites may also download harmful malware into your computer.
- Make sure the charity has a presence on the ground in the affected area. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what the charity can do to address victims’ needs.
- Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region.
According to the BBB servingConnecticut, The United Way of WesternConnecticut has partnered with NewtownSavings Bank to create the Sandy HookSchool Support Fund to providesupport services to the families and community that have been affected. Donations may be made online at https://newtown.uwwesternct.org or sent to:
Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street
Newtown, CT 06470
Remember, however you give,give wisely.