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Want to donate to Haiti relief efforts? Beware of scams

Kansas Attorney General Steve Six warned residents Thursday to be cautious in responding to requests for donations to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

"Unfortunately, scam artists will use this tragedy as an opportunity to take advantage of the generosity of Kansans," Six said in a statement. "Taking some extra time to verify the authenticity of the charitable organization will ensure that your contributions are aiding in disaster relief rather than lining a scammer's pocket."

Some of the precautionary steps recommended by Six:

* Don't be afraid to ask questions or request more information. Ask how your donation will be used. Is your contribution tax deductible? A legitimate organization will gladly provide you with more information.

* Go to the charity's Web site and read about its programs or request this information in writing.

* Beware of charities using names similar to large, well respected organizations. If concerned, contact the charity directly to ensure you have the correct organization.

* Beware of unsolicited e-mails. E-mail is a common forum for scamming. Do not respond directly to an e-mail request. Instead, go directly to the organization's Web site, call or mail a donation.

* Do not give cash. If paying by check, use the full name of the organization. Do not make the contribution out to the fundraiser.

* Never give your credit card number to a fundraiser over the phone.

* Contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints about the charity or search for the charity at www.bbb.org/us/charity/.

* Go to www.kscharitycheck .org to see if the charity is registered with the Kansas Secretary of State's Office.

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