Hope Marie Sneed of the Denver/Boulder BBB said disasters of this kind of magnitude bring not just unscrupulous contractors, but charity fraud con artists too.
Sneed said most people feel tremendous compassion for fire victims and evacuees, and want to do all they can to help. "This kind of emotion and vulnerability is exactly what charity fraudsters prey upon," according to Sneed.
"We don't want to discourage giving by any means; we simply urge consumers to follow a few tips on how to give wisely and avoid charity fraud," Sneed explained.
BBB Fire Fraud Tips
- Check with your BBB before donating to see if a report exists on the charity you are interested in, (visit: www.denver.bbb.org or call 303.758.2100.
- Before giving, ask for written information about a charity's program and finances - especially if you are unfamiliar with the organization.
- Don't bend to pressure to give money immediately. A charity that wants your money today also will welcome it at a later date.
- Avoid the "middle-man" - organizations who claim to raise money for other charities. These tend to be problematic and it's best to donate directly the charity directly.
- If you're considering texting your gift, verify with the charity (perhaps through its website) that the number you've been given by friends or online social networks is correct. You may want to text a small donation and then go online to the site to give more. Also be aware that a texted donation may take longer to reach the charity.
- If you see posts or messages on social media about raising money for a well-known organization that includes a link, don't click through. Instead, go to the organization's site directly.
- For more tips on wise giving and giving via social media, please visit www.denver.bbb.org
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