Look Out for Scam Charities in the Wake of Boston Marathon Bombi - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Look Out for Scam Charities in the Wake of Boston Marathon Bombing

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The Better Business Bureau is warning individuals to beware of possible charity scams that follow in the wake of tragedies, such as the Boston Marathon bombing.

Tragic occurrences usually inspire people to give to help those in need, but scammers take advantage of that generosity to benefit themselves.

Social media makes it easy for these scammers to reach a lot of people very quickly, while emotions are still running high. The BBB has tips for those that want to give, but don't want to help out a scammer.

The BBB's Wise Giving Alliance urges donors to give thoughtfully and avoid scammers by following these tips:

    Take time to check out the charity to avoid wasting your generosity by donating to a questionable or poorly managed effort.
  • Around 40 states require charities to register with a state government agency. However this is not the case in Nebraska.
  • Watch out for vague appeals that don't identify the intended use of funds, look to see if the appeal identifies when and how the collected funds will be used.
  • Never click on links to charities or unfamiliar websites in texts or emails. These links could be collecting your financial information or installing malware to gather information from your computer. 
  • After funds are raised for a tragedy, it is even more important for organizations to provide an accounting of how funds were spent.

    • Transparent organizations will post this information on their websites so you can find out and not have to wait for audited financial statements which are released in the future.
    • Not all organizations collecting funds to assist with tragedies are tax exempt under the section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Check information through the BBB's Wise Giving Alliance which evaluates charities based on 20 standards that address charity governance, finances, fund raising, appeal accuracy and other issues. 
    • The outcomes of the evaluations are available online at www.give.org and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance is affiliated with the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
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