Beware scammers looking to profit from Hurricane Dorian relief

NASA astronaut Nick Hague took this photo of Hurricane Dorian's eye from the International Space Station. | Nick Hague/NASA
NASA astronaut Nick Hague took this photo of Hurricane Dorian's eye from the International Space Station. | Nick Hague/NASA

State officials are urging New Yorkers to conduct thorough research before making donations to relief organizations in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

Posted: Sep 4, 2019 4:51 PM

NEW YORK -- State officials are urging New Yorkers to conduct thorough research before making donations to relief organizations in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. 

New York Attorney General Letitia James released a statement Wednesday that read, in part, "Today, and in the weeks and months to follow, it is imperative that we support all those who have been impacted, but I urge New Yorkers to be prudent when assessing what organizations to donate to. Sadly, bad actors too often take advantage of catastrophic events to scam generous individuals. New Yorkers and donors everywhere should direct their donations to organizations that they know and trust."

RELATED: As Hurricane Dorian skirts the Florida and Georgia coasts, a landfall in the Carolinas is not yet out of the question
MORE: Hurricane Dorian washed up a brick of cocaine on a Florida beach

To make sure that your contributions go to legitimate relief organizations and directly to help victims, consider the following tips:

  • Check Before Giving: Donate to charities you are familiar with and carefully review information about the charity before you give. Most charities are required to register and file financial reports with the Attorney General's Charities Bureau if they solicit contributions from New Yorkers. Check charitiesnys.com financial reports of charities or ask the charity directly for its reports.
  • Ask How Your Donation Will Be Used: Find out how the charity plans to use your donation, including the services and individuals your donation will support.
  • Be Wary of Newly-Formed Organizations: Often, in the aftermath of tragedies, new organizations are formed with claims that they will assist victims. While some of those organizations may be doing just that, others turn out to be scams. Before making a contribution to a new organization, find out who is running it and how it plans to use donations.
  • Be Careful When Giving Through Social Media: As after other tragedies, social media sites may be used to raise money for victims of Dorian. Before giving through these sites, check out who is behind the fundraising efforts and ask the same questions you would of a charity.
  • Exercise Caution Before You Text A Contribution: Check the charity’s website or call the charity to confirm it has authorized contributions to be made via text message.
  • Don't Give Cash. Give directly to the charity either by check made payable to the organization or through the charity's website.
  • Be Careful About Personal Information: Avoid giving credit card or personal information over the phone or by text message. In all cases, make sure you are familiar with the organization to which you give such information and check to see that the fundraising campaign is legitimate.
  • Report Suspicious Organizations: If you believe an organization is misrepresenting its work, or that a scam is taking place, please contact the Charities Bureau at complaints@ag.ny.gov.

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