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Check Your Charities Before You Give, Says Colorado Attorney General

The American Red Cross
Flooding in the Houston, Texas area due to Tropical Storm Harvey.

As Coloradans prepare to give to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, officials are warning of fake charities and other donation scams.

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman says to research before you give.

“It is important to take a few quick steps to ensure that these needed donations are really going to victims or to organizations providing victim and community support,” Coffman said in a statement.

Krista Ferndelli with the Better Business Bureau of Denver and Boulder warns of unscrupulous charities preying on people’s generosity.

“Anything that is really an urgent call to action, I would be wary of,” Ferndelli says. “Any verifiable, good organization or charity has things in place where you can take some time, research their organization, verify what they’re actually doing to address the needs on the ground.”

Ferndelli says it’s especially hard to verify the legitimacy of fundraisers on crowdfunding and social media sites like GoFundMe. The BBB also says donations of clothes and food are not as effective as cash given to reputable organizations.

To verify a charity or foundation, visit Check the Charity, BBB Wise Giving Alliance or the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster websites.