‘Do your homework:’ Colorado attorney general warns of scams when donating to Middle East earthquake victims

Attorney General Phil Weiser says “fake charities” may take advantage of goodwill during tragedies
WATCH: How to avoid scams when donating to Middle East earthquake victims
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 6:44 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is asking Coloradans to be extra cautious when donating to the Turkey-Syria earthquake recovery efforts.

Weiser says scammers may be present online and in-person, and they often take advantage of donors’ goodwill during times of disaster.

“Do your homework,” Weiser explained. “The biggest mistake people make is they’ll give to a cause that sounds worthy, but they haven’t checked it out. And it might not be legitimate.”

Weiser shared tips on preventing such scams, including verifying an organization’s legitimacy, looking at their track record, and being wary of pressure tactics. These apply to local, national and international donations.

He says charity assessment services such as Charity Navigator are useful tools. Other resources, such as checkthecharity.com, are listed on the AG’s “Stop Fraud Colorado” website.

AG Weiser also says asking these questions may help: “Has the organization existed for years, or is it a new one? Has the organization taken a huge amount of money for its administrative costs, or do the monies that go to that charity actually go to the people who need it?”

To help the earthquake victims, you can donate to the Colorado chapter of the American Red Cross. Find more details on how to send in your checks here.

At this time, the Red Cross is not accepting blood donations or in-kind goods, including food, blankets and toys.

You can, however, send such donations to the Turkish Embassy and Turkish Consulates across the U.S. via mail or in-person dropoff. According to a spokesperson with the American Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming, they’re accepting “blankets, tents, sleeping bags, pocket warmers, winter clothing and over-the-counter medications for flu, cold, and pain killers.”

According to CBS, there are now more than 12,000 earthquake casualties, as well as increasing demand for humanitarian aid, amid freezing temperatures.