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Southern Arizona
Donors stepping Up to Help Isabel Celis Search Related Charities should be Wary of Scams
August 10, 2012
Southern Arizonans horrified at the recent abduction of 6-year old Isabel Celis are responding with generous gifts of time and money. But even when the tragedy is close to home, givers should take steps to assure that donations go to legitimate charities, cautions BBB Wise Giving of Southern Arizona.

As the search for Celis continues, donors should watch out for scam charities that inevitably follow on the hills of tragedy with the sole aim of taking advantage of community good will.

“It’s common for scam artists to use tragedies to separate concerned donors’ from their money,” says BBB President Kim States “Even worse is that it can divert much needed resources away from the cause.”

Those who wish to aid the search for Celis with a donation can do so through the Tucson Medical Center Foundation by visiting www.tmcaz.com/TMCFoundation, or by going to any Wells Fargo branch and depositing a donation into the “Bring Isa Home” account.

Before making a donation to any charity, BBB recommends that donors’ follow these tips to ensure their donation is used effectively:

Take time to check out the charity. The best way to avoid being disappointed in helping is to find out more about the charity before making the donation.  Unfortunately, most people don’t. Donors should review the charity’s website and go to third party sites such as the BBB Wise Giving Alliance (www.tucson.bbb.org/charity) to learn more about the charity and verify its accountability.

Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to other organizations.  If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and give directly to charities that have a presence in Southern Arizona.

Verify if the charity is registered to solicit donations in Arizona.  Most states require charities to register with a state agency (in order to solicit charitable contributions. Contact the Arizona Department of State to determine if the soliciting charity is properly registered.

To find a charity you can trust visit www.tucson.bbb.org/charity or call (520)888-5353.