Scammers Claim to Help Families of Phoenix-Area
First-Responders Killed on Duty this Past Week
Phoenix, AZ (Thursday, May 23, 2013) – The deaths of a Phoenix Police Officer and Phoenix Fire Fighter in separate incidents within the last week are raising concerns about potential charity scams, Attorney General Tom Horne said today.
“My office has been alerted that possible charity scammers have already started to take advantage of the tragic deaths of Phoenix Police Officer Daryl Reatz and Phoenix Fire Fighter Bradley Harper,” Horne said. “I am always saddened to see these kinds of scams appear when there is a tragedy such as the death of a first-responder, and my office will do all it can to warn consumers and prosecute anyone caught operating a charitable scam.”
The Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona website has information on how to contribute to the Harper family at http://pffaz.org/, and the 100 Club of Arizona has information about how to contribute to the Harper family, as well as the family of Officer Reatz at their website at http://www.100club.org/web/Online/Online/Fundraising/Donate_Now.aspx.
Horne added, “My office has released a set of guidelines that are a useful tool for ensuring that any money you give will be used for charitable purposes and not end up in the hands of a predatory scammer. You may also look up an entity at www.charitynavigator.org. I urge all Arizonans to learn these easy steps to protecting themselves while helping others.”
Here are some tips for giving to charitable organizations:
- More guidelines: azag.gov/document/charity-scams-get-facts.
- Be skeptical of anyone asking for a donation by requesting your credit card number or bank account information over the phone unless you already donate to that charity.
- Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations.
- Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for the intended purpose.
- Don’t be shy about asking what percentage of your donation will go directly to the charity versus administrative costs.
- Do not pay bills or invoices you have received from charities unless you know you have already made a commitment to support them.
- Remember to ask for a receipt and statement that the contribution is tax deductible.
- Call the Secretary of State's Office at 602.542.4285 or visit their website to make sure the charity is registered with them. A charity that operates without such registration is violating the law and should be seen as a red flag for consumers. Also be aware that registration with the Secretary of State does not guarantee all of the charity’s activities are legitimate.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at 602.542.5763; in Tucson at 520.628.6504; or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at 1.800.352.8431. To file a complaint in person, the Attorney General’s Office has satellite offices throughout the state with volunteers available to help. Locations and hours of operation are posted on the Attorney General’s website. Consumers can also file complaints on line by visiting the Attorney General’s website.