Consumer Protection Commissioner and Attorney General Urge Families To Be Cautious About Charity Donations in Wake of Sri Lanka Bombings
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 – The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull, and Attorney General William Tong are urging those who wish to donate to victims of families of the attacks in Sri Lanka to donate carefully. Scammers often take advantage of those who want to support others after major crisis like this.
“We want to ensure that money donated to support those going through tragedy gets to the right place,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull, “Scammers take advantage of our good intentions when awful attacks like the ones this weekend target innocent people. We want to send the message that we do not tolerate that in our state. Families should avoid donating to any entity that shows red flags, and report any suspect behavior to DCP.”
"My heart goes out to the families of all who were lost and those wounded in this horrific act of hate and violence. In the face of tragedy, we need to do all we can to stand side-by-side with the people of Sri Lanka. As Connecticut residents and citizens across the country offer their support, it's important to ensure that any monetary relief donated goes toward helping the more than 300 victims' families and the hundreds more who were wounded in the attack," said Attorney General William Tong. "As scammers seek to take advantage of those who make charitable donations, it's important for residents to report any fraudulent entities that display suspect behavior to the Office of the Attorney General or the Department of Consumer Protection."
If consumers get a solicitation from a charity, they should be aware of these signs that it’s scam:
- Pressure to act immediately: If you’re told you must give right away, or you can’t help, it’s a scam. Legitimate charities will always give you the time you need.
- Requirement to pay in an untraceable form: If you’re told that you must pay in an untraceable form of payment like cash or wire transfer, don’t give in. You should always be able to pay via card or check, and get a receipt.
- An emotional appeal: If someone soliciting you tugs at your heartstrings a little too much, and uses a story in an effort to get you to donate without thinking, it might be a scam. You should always get a chance to do research beyond a personal story.
- No contact information: You should always ask where you can get more information through a website, phone number, or email so you can do a little research before you donate. If none of those things exist, don’t trust it. You should always be able to look up the information that you can’t get from someone soliciting you.
- Vague information or impersonation: Sham charities may have unclear names that have buzz words like “veterans” or “cancer” to appeal to consumers who care about certain issues. Even worse, some scam artists will call or send emails claiming to be a popular charity. That’s why you should always ask for more information, and ask for a phone number or website that you can double check before giving.
Those who believe they’ve fallen victim to a scam, or have been solicited by a sham charity should file a complaint with DCP by emailing email@example.com and can ask questions by calling our complaint center at (860) 713-6300.
Anyone who is looking to start a charitable organization in the state can get more information about how to do so in compliance with the law by reading our manual about starting a charitable organization. That manual can be found here.
Department of Consumer Protection
Lora Rae Anderson
(860) 713-6019 (office)
(860) 247-8711 (cell)
Office of the Attorney General