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For Immediate Release
January 4, 2005
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

BE SURE CHARITY IS LEGITIMATE WHEN DONATING TO HELP TSUNAMI SURVIVORS

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. warned Marylanders to be wary of scams that might surface in the wake of the tsunami disaster in Southern Asia.

"Unfortunately, con artists often try to take advantage of the generosity of those who want to help victims of disasters," Curran said. “Beware of solicitations for tsunami aid that may not be from legitimate charities.”

A number of legitimate organizations are providing assistance to tsunami victims. Citizens should contribute only to organizations that they know well and that willingly provide written information about their charitable efforts. If you are thinking about contributing:

• Check that a charity is registered with the State, as required, by calling the Maryland Secretary of State’s Charities Division at (410) 974-5534 or 1-800-825-4510. Also report any suspicions of fraudulent solicitations to the Charities Division.

• Be aware that fraudulent solicitors may use an organization name similar to established and well-known charitable organizations.

• Avoid cash donations and make checks payable to the organization, not to any individual soliciting.

• If donating by credit card on a website, be sure you are actually on the website of the charity that you have chosen, and not on a phony lookalike website.

• Don’t give your credit card information to a telephone solicitor or in response to an e-mail. It’s best that you contact a charity yourself.

The Better Business Bureau’s web page www.give.org lists several charities involved in tsunami relief efforts and whether or not the charity meets the BBB’ Wise Give Alliance’s standards for charity accountability.

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