The Federal Trade Commission is urging consumers to be cautious of potential charity scams in connection with Hurricane Charley. Scam artists may take advantage of this situation by creating bogus fundraising operations. The FTC has issued a consumer alert, the “FTC Charity Checklist,” which lists precautions consumers should take when donating to charities. The alert, available at, www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt114.shtm, advises consumers to be wary of appeals that tug at your heart strings, especially pleas involving current events. If you are asked to contribute to a charity, the FTC recommends that you:
To order copies of this or other FTC Consumer Alerts, visit www.ftc.gov/ftc/contact.shtm#publications. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.