Attorney General Madigan warns donors to be wary of scams tied to
Boston Marathon bombings
urges Illinois contributors to research charities before donating
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[April 23, 2013]
CHICAGO -- As the week began,
Attorney General Lisa Madigan urged Illinois residents who plan to
donate to charitable assistance efforts tied to the Boston Marathon
bombings to be on the lookout for fundraising scams by con artists
seeking to exploit the terrible crime for their personal profit.
"In the wake of such a horrible tragedy, people understandably want
to do what they can to help others in need," Madigan said.
"Unfortunately, though, scam artists try to take advantage of this
good will. I urge Illinois residents who want to make charitable
contributions to research before donating. Taking that extra step
will help ensure your donations reach legitimate causes that will
directly benefit the victims."
Under Illinois law, fundraisers and charitable organizations are
required to register each year with the attorney general's office.
To assist potential donors in making wise giving decisions, the
attorney general provides important information about charitable
organizations, such as income, expenditures and programs.
Madigan suggested the following tips to best ensure a donation
will be used for its intended purpose:
charities you know and trust. Be alert for charities that seem
to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events,
like the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
careful online. Make sure the website you are visiting belongs
to a legitimate, established and registered charity, and that
the website and the charity match. See if other legitimate
websites will link to that website. Also, make sure the site is
Check out the charity with the
Better Business Bureau,
Charity Navigator, GuideStar
and the attorney general's office.
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Be wary of urgent
appeals that play on your emotions for aid. Do not donate if the
solicitor uses high-pressure tactics, asks for cash payment or
insists on sending someone to pick up your donation. These are
all hallmarks of a scam.
Ask how much of
your donation will go to the charitable work and how much will
be used to pay fundraising costs. If you don't get a clear
answer -- or if you don't like the answer you get -- consider
donating to a different organization.
Never send cash. You can't be sure the
organization will receive your donation, and you won't have a
record for tax purposes. And, don't give out personal or
financial information until you have reviewed all the
information from the charity and verified its legitimacy.
Madigan encouraged donors to contact her office's Charitable
Trust Bureau at 312-814-2595 to report suspicious solicitations. The
attorney general recommended that, if possible, when solicitors
call, keep notes detailing the date and time of the call, the
organization's name, and the name of the solicitor. Madigan also
advised consumers to try remembering the "pitch" as well as any
other pertinent information so that it is easier to track the scam.
[Text from file received from the office
Illinois Attorney General Lisa