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Want to help victims of the Boston Marathon bombings? Dozens of charity efforts have sprouted in the last week. We've got a sampling below — and some helpful hints for avoiding scams.
-- Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino have established The One Fund as a central repository for gifts to help families affected by the bombings.
-- Half of the proceeds from the Friends with Benefits Gala 2013, scheduled for April 25, will go to The One Fund. Buy tickets here.
-- Give to the family of 8-year-old Martin Richard, killed in the bombings, at richardfamilyfund.org. The Salem Five bank has also established a fund for the family. Donate at any branch.
-- Boston University has established a scholarship in the name of slain student Lu Lingzi. Contribute here.
-- The family of the third bombing victim, Krystle Campbell, has asked that donations be sent to the Krystle M. Campbell Memorial Fund, 25 Park St., Medford, MA 02155.
-- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has established a Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund in the name of the campus police officer allegedly slain by the Boston Marathon bombers. Proceeds will support the Collier Medal, to be awarded to individuals "who demonstrate Collier's values." Give here.
-- The Collier family has asked that memorial gifts go to The Jimmy Fund, which supports cancer research and care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Collier was a longtime supporter of the organization.
-- There are a number of crowdsourcing efforts aimed at raising money for those injured in the Boston Marathon bombings. Here's a partial list.
A day after the bombings, the Better Business Bureau had already identified at least one charity scam.
The organization offers a series of tips for avoiding cons. Among them:
- Vet the organization to which you'd like to give. Established charities are usually safer bets — they tend to have experience reacting to events quickly. And they have track records that can be scrutinized.
- Most states (including Massachusetts) require charities to register — usually with an arm of the state attorney general's office — before accepting donations. If the charity isn't registered, that's a red flag.
- Beware of vague appeals. Look for a clear explanation of how donations will be used.
- Many families establish their own funds. Know that some of those funds are not established as charities. Third-party administration, by a bank, lawyer or CPA, helps ensure that the money is spent properly (on funeral costs, counseling, etc.).
- Never click on links on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails. They may take you to lookalike websites designed to gather your personal financial information for fraudulent purposes or to install malware on your computer.
This program aired on April 22, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.
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