BBB: Be wary of scam charities

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The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be on the lookout for scammers looking to capitalize on the tragedies in Newtown, Conn.

Charity scammers strike after natural catastrophes, as well as tragedies such as the Colorado theater shootings and now the Newtown school massacre, BBB officials say. This is often through unsolicited phone calls, emails, text messages and social media appeals.

A few tips for those who plan to donate:

Do your homework: Research charities through the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance website, www.give.org.

Select a charity yourself: Charity cheats will use every method to reach out to donors in times of tragedy. Rather than replying to a charity appeal, BBB recommends choosing a well-known charity or one that has been endorsed by local or state authorities in the aftermath of a tragedy.

Contact charities directly: Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails. These may take you to a lookalike website where you will be asked to provide financial information, or download harmful malware into your computer.

Donors may contribute to a victims’ family fund through a collaborative effort between The United Way and Newtown Savings Bank. Those donations may be sent to: Sandy Hook School Support Fund c/o Newtown Savings Banks, 39 Main St., Newtown, CT 06470.

If you are unsure if a solicitation for donations is legitimate or not, contact your Better Business Bureau at 509-455-4200 or email info@spokane.bbb.org.

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