Watch for Boston Marathon Charity Scams

By on

Tragedy tends to strike twice.

The first is usually unexpected and takes the harsher toll — this time, three deaths, including an 8-year-old, and more than 100 injuries, some of which required amputation.

But the second tragedy is entirely predictable and can be avoided. Slimy people always try to profit from human empathy for victims, and they take money away from us and the people who need it most. That’s why the Better Business Bureau is already warning about fake charities setting up shop in Boston.

They advise that you should dedicate a little time along with your money: Do some research to make sure the charity is not poorly organized or questionable. If it’s brand new, it may be one or both.

Make sure you have a clear understanding of when and how the money will be used to help victims. You can find spending reports and tax documents for established charities at Charity NavigatorCharityWatch and GuideStar.

If you’re donating online, pay attention to the links you’re clicking and make sure the Web address is exactly what it should be, because some scammers try to imitate the look of established charities.

As the BBB puts it, “Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs or other social media have already been vetted.” Fake information gets circulated widely and quickly by well-intentioned but busy people.

And while taxes may be the last thing on your mind now, remember that not all donations are tax-deductible. The charity needs to be a qualified 501(c)(3), and donations made to help a specific individual or family can’t be deducted. You can see if a charity is eligible at this page of the IRS website.

Speaking of taxes, Uncle Sam is cutting Boston area taxpayers a break on filing. The IRS says people living in Suffolk County, plus “victims, their families, first responders, others impacted by this tragedy who live outside Suffolk County and taxpayers whose tax preparers were adversely affected,” have until July 15 to file. (If you make estimated payments throughout the year, however, note that they say interest still applies.)

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,268 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.