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Caution urged when donating

JANE STEBBINSsummit daily news

Donor beware.That’s the message Lisa Cloud, program coordinator with the Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross in Dillon, has for those interested in contributing money toward the tsunami relief efforts in south Asia.Most efforts – particularly locally – are going to be legitimate, with those collecting the funds sending them to various charitable organizations to help victims of the tsunami.”But there are going to be people,” Cloud said. “Some of it you go by your heart and your gut. If it feels funny, don’t do it. Follow your gut. When in doubt, don’t do it.”Cloud said the only person besides 83-year-old Egon Gerson – a 40-year volunteer with the local chapter – who is collecting money on behalf of the organization is a volunteer stationed at City Market in Dillon. The chapter also has canisters in various locations throughout the county.And there are individuals and companies throughout the county that are legitimately collecting funds.”Everybody wants to do something,” Cloud said. “It’s the honor system.”Advice she offers includes:– If asked to make a donation in the form of a check, only make it out to the organization and not the name of the person collecting the money;– Don’t donate to organizations you’ve never heard of before;– If you’re suspicious, notify local law enforcement;– Be particularly cautious about on-line solicitations;– Verify the organization is a legitimate organization by contacting the Better Business Bureau Online, the National Charities Information Bureau or the American Institute of Philanthropy. Be wary of agency names that sound similar to legitimate organizations.


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