If you're want to make a donation or help the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, donate to reputable agencies and be mindful of possible scams.
The state Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein and Attorney General George Jepsen are alerting residents that scammers might already be trying to exploit the tragedy for their own purposes.
The American Red Cross is providing support in Boston to help for the victims and displaced families.
The organization says it does not need any blood right now, but offers a Safe and Well web site for people in the area to register their status so that loved ones can check and make sure they're OK.
The American Red Cross issued a statement urging people to schedule an appointment to give in the days and weeks ahead by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting redcrossblood.org.
The Salvation Army is also providing support to those affected by the bombings. The organization has set up a mobile kitchen at the staging area for first responders and another at a gathering spot for impacted families. The public is asked to donate money to help buy additional food and beverages.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Menino announced The One Fund Boston
to raise money to help those families most affected by the tragic events that unfolded during Monday’s Boston Marathon.
According to the Boston Athletic Association, adidas is selling a limited "Boston stands as one" T-shirt to benefit The One Fund and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the fund. The shirt sells for $26.20 at the adidas Web site.
Fleet Feet in West Hartford has also set up a Boston Marathon tribute run on Monday at 6 p.m. to benefit The One Fund.
CPC also recommends:
- When giving to any organization, designate the preferred use for your donation (e.g. “for the families of Boston Marathon victims”), and do so in writing whenever possible.
- Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone soliciting contributions.
- Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by debit or credit card, or write a check directly to the charity.
- Do not make checks payable to individuals.
- Be extra cautious when responding to e-mail and telephone solicitations on behalf of supposed victims. These methods of solicitation are more likely to be part of a scam.
- Delete unsolicited e-mails and don’t open attachments, even if they claim to contain video or photographs. The attachments may be viruses designed to steal personal financial information from your computer.
- Watch carefully for copycat organizations. Criminals are likely to set up bogus sites to steal the identities and donations of generous, unsuspecting individuals. When giving online, be sure to find the charity’s legitimate website. You can access accurate links to the sites of each bona fide charity at Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org).
- Social media sites can also perpetuate scams. Do not blindly give via these vehicles. As with any charity, investigate the groups behind such pleas to ensure that they come from a legitimate organization.
- Charities that collect funds in Massachusetts are required to register with the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, and donors should confirm that any charity they plan to support is appropriately registered at this web page.
- The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection maintains information on charities that are registered with the state and the minimum percentage guaranteed to go to that charity, if the charity is soliciting through a paid solicitor. The Department’s website, https://www.elicense.ct.gov, provides charity registration information and displays any active solicitation campaign notices for a registered charity or their paid solicitor.
- Additional information is also available at Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator.orgwww.charitynavigator.org; the Federal Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/charityfraud; and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at http://www.bbb.org/us/charity.