Bryan Cohen Nov. 25, 2013, 8:30pm

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan warned consumers Friday of allegedly improper fundraising efforts tied to downstate Illinois communities hit by recent tornadoes and severe storms.

The attorney general's Charitable Trust Bureau received a complaint related to Heroes Memorial Foundation, an unregistered, out-of-state entity raising funds for victims of the storms. State law requires that fundraisers and charitable organizations register each year with her office.

Madigan's office also is helping local authorities in Washington, Ill., to monitor for scams related to rebuilding and recovery efforts.

"Unfortunately, in the wake of such devastation, we almost always receive reports of questionable fundraising efforts that try to take advantage of people wanting to help," the attorney general said in a statement.

"My office is investigating a complaint, and we will continue to monitor for improper fundraising efforts and possible scams connected to the disaster relief underway."

The Attorney General's Office provides financial information about charitable organizations to help potential donors make smart giving decisions. The information includes expediters, income and programs.

"I urge anyone who wants to donate to carefully research the organizations they intend to give to so they know their contribution will directly benefit the victims of Sunday's storms," Madigan said Friday.

She encouraged donors to report suspicious donation solicitations to the bureau.

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