Utah consumer officials warn against charity scams in wake of tragedy

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) - Many charities do their best work after tragedies like the Las Vegas shooting and natural disasters like Hurricane Irma, but Utah consumer officials are warning against possible charity scams that could arise in the wake of these disasters. 

The Utah Division of Consumer Affairs warned Tuesday scammers are at the ready to capitalize on tragedy. 

"Check before you give," said Director of Consumer Affairs Daniel O'Bannon. 

Sometimes, charities like the Red Cross and other big-name nonprofit groups will solicit donations in the wake of tragedy. Donor beware, check and make sure whoever is doing the asking, is registered with your state's Department of Commerce. 

Anyone asking for donations from Utahns is required to register with the Department of Commerce, O'Bannon said. 

O'Bannon also urged caution when donating to crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe. Many fund solicitations have popped up online after 59 people were killed in a shooting in Las Vegas Sunday. Donations being requested may be used for funeral expenses or other necessities. Many give out of the kindness of their heart, however scammers could take advantage. 

The best rule of thumb to follow, O'Bannon said, is to donate to charities and people you can easily vet. 

He also warned that many times, people donate to crowdfunding sources at their own risk, because it can be difficult to verify money is going to its intended recipient. 

For more information on how you can protect yourself, click here


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