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Attorney General Warns of Scam Charities Following Fires

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Above: KPBS reporter Alison St. John discusses the Los Angeles Station Fire and the differences between that fire and the 2007 wildfires in San Diego County.

— People hoping to making donations to benefit victims of the Southern California wildfires should beware of "sham charities" that often arise to take advantage of major disasters, state Attorney General Jerry Brown said today.

"After virtually every disaster, scam artists come out of the woodwork to defraud individuals wishing to help victims," Brown said. "Californians should give only to reputable organizations so their donations don't end up lining the pockets of criminals and opportunists."

He said people should carefully consider fire-relief solicitations before making donations. An important indicator of a charity's validity can be whether it is registered with the state's Registry of Charitable Trusts. A searchable database is available at http://ag.ca.gov/charities.php.

Information on national charities is also available from the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance at (800) 575-4483 or www.give.org.

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