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Consumer Alert: Be Aware of Potential Scams After Tragedy in Turkey

Consumers should be cautious when donating to recovery efforts as scammers try to take advantage of good will

HARTFORD — The Department of Consumer Protection and the Office of the Attorney General are reminding the public to be cautious of potential charity scams amid disaster recovery efforts to support communities impacted by the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

“We know many people in Connecticut will want to do what they can to help out after this horrific tragedy,” said DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “But we encourage everyone to do their research and be cautious when choosing where and how to give. Tragedies like this create a prime opportunity for scammers to impersonate charities and other organizations to take advantage of your good will.”

“I am heartbroken by the staggering loss of life and destruction in Turkey. I know that families across Connecticut are seeing this news and want to help in any way they can, especially Turkish families in Connecticut with relatives back home,” said Attorney General William Tong. “Unfortunately, scammers see this type of tragedy as an opportunity. Please be cautious and research any charity before donating. Don’t feel pressured or rush to donate on the spot. Take your time, ask questions, and never give out your personal or financial information on an unsolicited call or text. We want to ensure every dollar donated goes to families in need.”

Before you donate, review these tips to avoid scams and make sure your donation is used appropriately:

  • Verify their registration: All charities soliciting in the State of Connecticut must be registered with the Department of Consumer Protection. You can verify at a registration at
  • Do your research: Before donating, use online resources like the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, Guidestar, Charity Navigator, and Charity Watch, which all provide information about non-profit organizations, to research charities and review each organization’s website.
  • Be cautious of “look alike” websites: Websites will sometimes try and impersonate legitimate charities. Verify the URL in your browser before giving any money online. These fraudulent websites will often ask for personal financial information and may download harmful malware onto your computer. Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook or social media are legitimate and have already been scrutinized.
  • Ask questions: Ask how your donation will be used and ask the solicitor to be specific. If the answer is vague, be wary. While the solicitor may not know every detail, he or she should be ready to tell you about the charity's mission and any upcoming events. Ask where your donation is going, especially if you prefer your donation to be used locally.
  • Know who you are talking to: If you receive an email or text message asking for a donation, confirm that the request is from the charity, and not an imposter, by contacting the charity or visiting its website. A legitimate charity will always give you time to verify its identity and do your research.
  • Listen for disclosure: If it is important to you, ask the caller if he or she is being paid to make the call. Most telemarketing calls are made by paid solicitors, not charities. Get the name and write it down. Connecticut law requires paid solicitors to tell you this without your having to ask but don't count on them doing so. Be suspicious of anyone who does not volunteer this information.
  • Know how much will reach those impacted: If it is important to you, ask what percentage of your donation the organization will keep. It is up to you to decide whether you feel comfortable with it.
  • Don’t be pressured: Do not donate if the solicitor uses high-pressure tactics, asks for payment in cash or insists on sending someone to pick up your donation.
  • Avoid paying in an untraceable form of payment: Donate by check or credit card, not by wire transfer or cash.
  • Never give out personal information: Never give out information such as your social security number or bank account numbers over the phone or internet, or to an untrusted source.
  • Trust your instincts: Give with your mind, as well as your heart. If you have doubts about donating to a charity, don’t contribute to it. Instead, find another charity that you feel comfortable with and then make your donation.

For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Department of Consumer Protection by emailing or visit

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Media Contact:
Kaitlyn Krasselt
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