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Avoid Boston Marathon charity scams

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(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Scammers are already trying to make money off of the Boston Marathon tragedy.

To help those in need while protecting your bottom dollar, follow these tips from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Be skeptical of anyone asking for a donation by requesting your credit card number or bank account information over the phone unless you've 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 website 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've become a victim of fraud, call the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix at 602-542-5763.

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