Phoenix, AZ (Tuesday, April 16, 2013) - In the wake of Monday’s Boston bombing, Attorney General Tom Horne is reminding Arizonans to take precautions when preparing to make any charitable or disaster relief donations.
“As of today, we have not received complaints about charitable scams resulting from the horrible events in Boston on Monday, but past experience has shown that scammers are not above cruelly taking advantage of a tragedy to rip off consumers,” Horne said.
“I want to encourage Arizonans to consider making a contribution to a reputable disaster relief agency or charitable organization. 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,” he added.
Attached is a memo released today by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and below are some tips for giving to charitable organizations:
- More guidelines: https://www.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.
- Call the Secretary of State's Office at (602) 542-4285 or visit their Web site to make sure the charity is registered with the Secretary of State. A charity that operates without such registration is violating the law and should be seen as a red flag for consumers. Be aware, however, that registration with the Secretary of State does not guarantee that all of the charity’s activities are legitimate.
- 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 a statement that the contribution is tax deductible.
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 (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 Web site. Consumers can also file complaints on line by visiting the Attorney General’s Web site at www.azag.gov.