• Polito's Take: B-Strong and Beware


    For every selfless offer of help following a tragedy there is always some huckster looking to exploit that kindness and turn it into a fast buck.

    Less than four hours had passed since the blasts last Monday when more than 125 website domain names related to the explosions were registered. Social media accounts and pages were also opened to prey on the goodwill of people who stepped forward with their hearts and wallets open. These soulless fiends trample over the victims to intercept the outpouring of support and turn it into a cash grab. But it doesn't stop there. In addition to misrepresenting themselves as a legitimate charity to collect donations, they will also sell any item with some type of logo related to the tragedy. They'll tell you that a portion of the proceeds are going to help victims when in fact, they keep it all and turn you into a victim of a scam.

    If you really want to help you really need to do some homework. I recommend that you contribute to The One Fund Boston. It was created to help the people most affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013. There are other charities providing assistance, but you need to follow these recommendations from the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. Know your charity. Take the time to verify the address, phone number, contact information, and review the website and written material, when possible. Consider a charity's history, purpose, track record and reputation, and never give to a charity you know nothing about. If you have any doubts, well established charities with experience in disaster relief or organizations established with support from government agencies are generally a good choice. Check to see if the charity is registered and filing with the Attorney General's Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division. Registration and filing information can be obtained online at http://www.mass.gov/ago/charitiesreports or by calling the division at 617-727-2200 x2101.

    If you're looking to buy some apparel with the "B-Strong" logo, I recommend you purchase through http://www.47brand.com/default.aspx. This Major League Baseball licensee has produced caps featuring the B Strong logo with the Red Sox stylized B. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of the caps will be donated to One Fund Boston. Other sites have popped up selling items with the B Strong logo and promises to donate a "portion" of the profits. These sites could be legitimate, but one hundred percent is better than thirty percent.

    Follow these steps and you can be sure that your money will get to the people who need it most.

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