At least one poorly-conceived charity scam has already emerged in the wake of the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday, and more are likely.
BBB Wise Giving Alliance, the national charity monitoring arm of the Better Business Bureau, and BBB Serving Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont cautions donors about potential red flags concerning tragedy-related philanthropy.
“Tragedies inspire people to give,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of the alliance, “but, tragedies — whether natural disasters or manmade catastrophes – also inspire scammers to take advantage of that generosity. Social media, in particular, makes it very easy to reach a lot of people quickly, when emotions are running high and people feel the need to take action, any action, to help.”
BBB Wise Giving Alliance urges donors to give thoughtfully and avoid those seeking to take advantage of the generosity of others:
BBB Wise Giving Alliance: Ten Tips for Giving with Confidence
1. Thoughtful giving: Take the time to check out the charity to avoid wasting your generosity by donating to a questionable or poorly managed effort. The first request for a donation may not be the best choice. Be proactive and find trusted charities that are providing assistance.
2. Help spread the wise giving word: Remind your friends and family to be cautious about giving requests in the wake of such a tragedy and ask them to spread the word as well. People are emotionally moved by events like these and may react before they have time to carefully consider.
3. State government Rregistration: About 40 of the 50 states require charities to register with a state government agency (usually a division of the State Attorney General’s office) before they solicit for charitable gifts. If the charity is not registered, that may be a significant red flag.