UConn Remembers
Office of University Communications: (860) 486-3530

Avoid Fraud When Giving to Appeals for Victims of the September 11th Terrorist Attack (Released: 09/21/01)

The following was released by the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System as a consumer alert:

As Americans watch the events of the terrorist attack of September 11 unfold, everyone wants to do something to help out the victims, their families and emergency workers. Many well-known national organizations have special campaigns in place today that will gratefully accept your contributions. Unfortunately, this is also a time when Americans may find themselves prey to con artists who will take advantage of the emotions of the moment to solicit funds for fraudulent charities that do not exist.

The University of Connecticut offers the following tips to help consumers who want to make charitable contributions:

Be informed. Check out any organization that you hear about on the radio and television, or that contacts you via phone, mail or the Internet. Information about charities can be obtained from the Public Charities Unit of the Connecticut Attorney General's Office and the Better Business Bureau. (Addresses follow.) Inform callers that you will be contacting the Public Charities Unit.

Don't give cash. Make out checks to the name of the organization, not the individual asking for a donation.

Do not give out your credit card number to solicitors who call you or to organizations that you are unfamiliar with.

Ask how much of your contribution goes to the charity's administration and how much goes to program and victim services. Request that the organization send written information and respond after reading and investigating the literature they send. Consumers should expect that the majority of their donation go to services.

Be wary of groups selling merchandise claiming that all profits will benefit victims. Some may be legitimate; while others may have no association with the organization they claim to represent and may be using a charity's name without their approval.

Before sending or giving items like water or food, check with the organization to make sure they have the resources to store, transport and distribute your contribution. Some organizations would prefer to receive financial contributions that can be used to fund the most urgent needs.

Remember that the need for contributions will be on going and that in the days and months ahead you will have many opportunities to provide support. Take time to choose the recipients of your charitable giving to make sure that your dollars reach helping hands.

For more information contact:

Public Charities Unit
Office of the Attorney General

55 Elm Stree
Hartford, CT 06106

Better Business Bureau

The National Database of Nonprofit Organizations

For More Information, Contact:
Lynne Grant, Extension Educator
203 207-3263

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