BBB: Beware of Boston Marathon charity scams

4:11 PM, Apr 16, 2013   |    comments
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  • A second explosion goes off near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. David L. Ryan, Boston Globe, via Getty Images
  • A race official assists Bill Iffrig, 78, who was knocked down near the finish line after one of the two blasts went off during Monday's Boston Marathon. (Photo: Ken McGagh/AP)
    

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The Better Business Bureau is warning of charity scams in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The BBB says since Monday, more than 125 charity names have been registered relating to the Boston Marathon explosions.  Many are disguised to look like money-raising charities but actually created for self gain.

In one of the scams, the BBB says a fake Boston Marathon Twitter user promised to donate $1 to victims for every retweet.  The account has since been suspended.

The state Attorney General's office must approve and register any organization before they may legally solicit for charitable gifts. Check out any potential charity through www.BBB.org and the Michigan Attorney General's office.

The BBB also says to watch out for vague appeals that don't identify the intended use of funds, and never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails.

An established charity will more likely have the experience to quickly address the circumstances and have a track record that can be evaluated. A newly formed organization may be well-meaning but will be difficult to check out and may not be well managed. 

Click here (http://bit.ly/Yt6l3X) for more information on avoiding charity scams.

USA TODAY is recommending other ways you can help the victims in Boston:

  • The Salvation Army is providing support to survivors and first responders. You can donate-clothes, food, books, gift cards, etc.
  • Donate blood. This is always crucial when disaster strikes. Visit the American Red Cross website and learn how to help. Or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (733-2767).

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