Do your research before making a donation
— Better Business Bureau is alerting consumers to reports of phony charity solicitations, supposedly on behalf of the families of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown on Friday.
BBB recommends donors avoid giving to charities or funds through unsolicited phone calls, emails, texts or social media appeals.
Fraudulent charities commonly strike after natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, as well as tragedies such as the Colorado theater shootings and now the Newtown school massacre.
BBB urges donors to:
- Do your homework. Always research a charity through BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance website, www.give.org, before making a donation.
- Find charity yourself. Rather than replying to a charity appeal, BBB recommends choosing a well-known charity or one that has been endorsed by local or state authorities in the aftermath of a tragedy.
- Contact charities directly. Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails. These may take you to a lookalike website where you will be asked to provide financial information, or download harmful malware into your computer.
- Confirm text code numbers. If you plan to donate by text message, confirm the text code number directly with the charity. Also, keep in mind that text message donations are typically not immediate. Depending on your cell phone provider, the donation may not show up on your bill for 30 to 90 days.
Donors may contribute to a victims’ family fund through a collaborative effort between The United Way and Newtown Savings Bank.
Donations can be sent to: Sandy Hook School Support Fund c/o Newtown Savings Banks 39 Main Street Newtown, CT 06470.