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Use caution when donating to victims of Hurricane Dorian

Hurrican Dorian From Space StationWhen a natural disaster occurs, scammers appear everywhere quickly to try to get your money.

“The destruction that Hurricane Dorian wreaked across the Bahamas is nothing short of a true humanitarian crisis – entire communities underwater, homes completely destroyed, and lives tragically lost,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James. “We anxiously wait for Dorian to pass through the southeast United States and hope for minimal impact and that communities remain safe.”

James urged people who want to support those who have been impacted to be prudent when assessing what organizations to donate to.

“Sadly, bad actors too often take advantage of catastrophic events to scam generous individuals,” she said.

James said to consider these tips for making sure that contributions go to legitimate relief organizations and directly to help victims:

  • Check before giving. Donate to charities you are familiar with and carefully review information about the charity before you give. Charities are required to register in most states and file financial reports with a state agency if they solicit contributions in a state.
  • 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. In the aftermath of tragedies, new organizations are formed with claims that they’ll 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’s 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’s 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. Make sure you’re familiar with the organization before you give out this type of 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, contact the charity official in your state.

Comments

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Baby_boomster

This is all so true, Rita. A friend of mine who specializes in non-profits and is a consultant for them suggested Team Rubicon for donations to Hurricane Dorian. She said they are on the up and up and doing great work there. (She does not work for them, but knows how to vet them out)

Rita

Hi Rebecca,

Thanks for the suggestion. It's good to get recommendations from people who have done research.

Rita

Jennifer

In diasters, many cell phone companies allow you to donate to charities like the Red Cross through a text donation that then gets added to your bill. But you need to make sure the information is coming from your cell phone company. It's usually included in their bills or specific company advertisements.

Rita

Hi Jennifer,

Good tip, along with the caution to make sure the information is coming from a phone company not a scammer.

Rita

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