Southborough police warn of Boston Marathon fundraising scams

The Southborough Police Department warns residents to be on the lookout for scams when donating to charities that claim to aid victims of the Boston Marathon attacks. They passed along this guidance from the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Attorney General Martha Coakley on Wednesday reminded those who want to give to support victims of the Boston Marathon attacks to do their homework first to ensure the charity is reputable.

More than 125 website domain names relating to the Boston Marathon explosions were registered within a few hours of the attacks Monday, according to Consumer Affairs Undersecretary Barbra Anthony. Fraudulent websites have popped up in the aftermath of other national tragedies, including the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown.

Coakley warned would-be donors to protect themselves from fundraising scams by making sure any websites they visit match a registered charity and to beware of professional fundraisers who try to make their solicitations sound like they are coming directly from the charity itself or volunteers.

Coakley’s office offered a handful of tips, including getting to know the charity by taking time to verify the address, phone number, and contact information and reviewing the website and written material. When possible, consider the charity’s history. Be wary of appeals that are “long on emotion,” according to Coakley’s office. A legitimate charity will tell donors how it’s using the money after a disaster. Do not pay cash and never give a credit card number to a fundraiser over the phone. Websites like help donors get additional information on a particular charity.

If you’re looking for someplace to donate money to benefit the victims of last week’s attacks, consider The One Fund, which was established by Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino in the aftermath of the bombing.

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