Following the destruction of Hurricane Dorian, Attorney General Letitia James released the following statement and provided tips to donors about charitable giving to relief organizations:
“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. We anxiously wait for Dorian to pass through the southeast United States and hope for minimal impact and that communities remain safe. 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.”
To make sure that your contributions go to legitimate relief organizations and directly to help victims, please consider these tips (pdf brochure):
- 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 our website, charitiesnys.com, for 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.