NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


September 18, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

CURRAN WARNS OF CHARITY SCAMS

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that Marylanders who are considering a charitable contribution in light of the tragic events of September 11, should be wary of potential con artists seeking to cash in on people’s eagerness to aid those affected by the recent acts of terrorism. Curran noted that while many of the charitable efforts that exist are good-faith efforts, there are unscrupulous individuals who surface at times of crisis to pray on the sympathies and emotions of giving people.

The National White Collar Crime Center is alerting citizens to unsolicited e-mil (SPAM) requesting donations by credit card for various charitable organizations, a practice not used by many reputable charities. The Attorney General urged any Marylander wishing to make a contribution to:

* Be wary of emotional appeals that offer little information about the charity and how the money will be spent.

* Never give cash. Make the check or money order out to the organization, not an individual.

* Be wary of organizations that are reluctant to answer reasonable questions about their operation, finances and programs.

* Never give credit card or other personal information to a telephone solicitor. Ask that information be mailed to you.

* Check out the charity by calling the Secretary of State’s Office at (800) 925-4510.

"People have an overwhelming desire to contribute because they want to do something to help those in need," Attorney General Curran said. "They just need to be careful to make sure they know where their money is going. I continue to urge people to give, but to make sure they let their head rule their heart."

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