FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2012
State Cautions Residents on Charitable Giving: Beware of Potential Scams
(HARTFORD, CT)- Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) Commissioner William M. Rubenstein and Attorney General George Jepsen are cautioning residents that scammers may already be seeking to exploit the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy for their own purposes.
“This is a time of mourning for the people of Newtown and for our entire state,” said Attorney General Jepsen. “Unfortunately, it’s also a time when bad actors may seek to exploit those coping with this tragedy. We are very thankful for all of the offers to help and urge those looking for ways to help to take some simple precautions to ensure that their donations will find their way to those in need.”
“In the wake of the shocking and horrific shooting in Newtown, tremendously compassionate individuals and groups from across the nation have stepped up to assist,” said Commissioner Rubenstein. “Donors should apply a critical eye and take precautions before providing any money in response to emails, websites, door-to-door collections, mailings or telephone calls in the name of helping those devastated by the tragic Newtown shootings. We are extremely grateful for the generosity shown to the people of Connecticut, and especially the Newtown community. We want donors to be certain their support is going to the appropriate place.”
The State offers the following suggestions for donating on behalf of victims:
Watch carefully for copycat organizations. Criminals are likely to set up bogus sites to steal the identities and donations of generous, unsuspecting individuals. When giving online, be sure to find the charity’s legitimate website. You can access accurate links to the sites of each bona fide charity at Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org).
Both the need for donations and the opportunity for giving will be present for some time. Therefore, do not feel pressured into making contributions; reputable charities do not use coercive tactics. If you feel pressured at all, you are most likely being scammed.
The Department of Consumer Protection maintains information on charities that are registered with the state and the minimum percentage guaranteed to go to that charity. The Department’s website, https://www.elicense.ct.gov, provides charity registration information and displays any active solicitation campaign notices for a registered charity or their paid solicitor.
Additional information is also available at Charity Navigator, http://www.charitynavigator.org; the Federal Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/charityfraud; and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at http://www.bbb.org/us/charity.
While the outpouring of grief, concern and support for the families affected by this tragedy will be enormous, so will be the potential for fraud. Please report suspicious solicitations to your local police and to the Department of Consumer Protection at 1-800-842-2649. Anyone caught engaging in fraudulent activity will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Contacts: Claudette Carveth, Dept. of Consumer Protection, email@example.com or 860-713-6022
Susan Kinsman, Office of the Attorney General, firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-808-5324 or 860-478-9581 (cell)