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Make your donations to Boston bombing victims count

Consumer Reports News: April 17, 2013 09:08 AM

With three people confirmed dead and more than 170 wounded in Monday's Boston Marathon bombings, there likely will be a big need for donations to help victims. Sadly, such tragedies often bring out con artists who use bogus websites, telemarketing, e-mail, and other types of soliciting to trick people into giving. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance has already reported seeing what it terms one "poorly-conceived charity scam" related to the Boston bombings.

And even well-intended fund-raising appeals might not use the money effectively or end up helping those most in need. That's why we advise giving to established charities, such as the American Red Cross.

Before donating to even a well-known group, find out whether it's in a position to help in the current emergency and, if so, what aid it plans to provide. Also see whether the charity has been evaluated by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, and Charity Watch. For local groups that aren't evaluated by a national charity watchdog, it may be safer to give through a fund-raising federation, such as the United Way.

For more information on disaster-related charity appeals and how to evaluate them, read our story in the May issue of the Consumer Reports Money Adviser.

Anthony Giorgianni

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