AG Kathleen Kane issues scam alert following mass shooting in Orlando

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HARRISBURG, Pa. – Following Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today urged all Pennsylvanians to be cautious with their charitable giving.

“Many Pennsylvanians will want to offer financial support to the people who have been affected by this tragic loss of life,” Attorney General Kane said. “It is important for those who give to take the proper precautions to ensure they are donating to reputable organizations.”

Attorney General Kane said representatives from her office have been in contact with officials from the office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Bondi’s office encouraged those wishing to donate to consider the following guidelines:

  • Consider donating to an established disaster-relief charity or an established aid organization based in the Orlando area. Numerous incident-specific charities may be created, some legitimately wishing to bring aid to those affected and others wishing to profit off the goodwill offered in a time of need.
  • Determine whether a charity soliciting money is legitimate by checking to see if it is registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at www.800HelpFla.com or by calling 800-HELP-FLA (800-435-7352).
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at www.Give.org to determine whether people have filed complaints against a specific charity.
  • Understand how much of the donation will actually go toward the work of the charity as opposed to administrative and fundraising expenses. To learn more about a registered charity’s spending, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com .

Attorney General Kane also offered the following tips for Pennsylvania residents interested in making a charitable contribution following the shooting:

  • Be cautious when giving to a charity created in response to this specific incident.
  • Donate to a charity that has a proven history of dealing with large-scale events and international relief efforts.
  • Be wary of charity messages posted on social media. Do your own research to confirm the legitimacy of the charity.
  • If you receive a request to donate via text or email, confirm the request is from the charity by contacting its office or visitingĀ its website.
  • Beware of look-alike websites. Fraudsters will set up websites that mirror that of a legitimate charity in order to secure your personal financial information.

Many states require charities to register with a state government agency before they solicit for charitable gifts. That is the case in Pennsylvania. Residents may check registration filed with the Department of State by visiting http://www.charities.pa.gov/ or by calling 1-800-732-0999.

Pennsylvanians who suspect questionable charitable activity or believe they have been victimized by a scam can file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General’s Charitable Trusts and Organizations Section at www.attorneygeneral.gov or by calling 717-783-2853.

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