FTC Alerts Consumers Who Want to Help Colorado Shooting Victims

FTC Alerts Consumers Who Want to Help Colorado Shooting Victims
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In an effort to help consumers avoid scams, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued tips for anyone wanting to donate money to the victims and families of the Aurora, CO movie theater shooting.

One opportunity for giving, the Aurora Victim Relief Fund, has been established by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and the Community First Foundation to meet immediate and long-term needs of victims and their families.

Donations are being accepted through the Foundation's GivingFirst.org program, which describes how various nonprofit organizations are offering direct support to those affected.

Unfortunately, legitimate charities face competition from fraudsters who either solicit for bogus charities or aren't entirely honest about how a so-called charity will use your contribution. It's wise to be wary of charities that spring up overnight in connection with current events, like the theater shooting.

Urgent appeals for aid that you get in person, by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or on social networking sites may not be on the up-and-up. The agency's Charity Checklist has tips for guidance on donating wisely.

If you are asked to contribute to a charity, the FTC recommends that you:

  • Ask for the name of the charity if the telemarketer does not provide it promptly
  • Ask what percentage of your donation will support the cause described in the solicitation
  • Verify that the charity has authorized the solicitation
  • Do not provide any credit card or bank information until you have reviewed all information from the charity and made the decision to donate
  • Ask for a receipt showing the amount of the contribution and stating that it is tax-deductible
  • Avoid cash gifts. For security and tax record purposes, it's best to pay by check – made payable to the beneficiary, not the solicitor.