Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) is providing information to residents about how to protect themselves from charity scams following Hurricane Sandy.
“Many residents are eager to help out those in need; however criminals may use this disaster to take advantage of people’s generosity. By following a few basic steps, residents can help protect themselves from fraud and ensure that their donation goes to those in need,” said Senator Fuschillo.
Senator Fuschillo offered the following tips, which are provided by the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the New York State Division of Consumer Protection, that consumers can follow to avoid charity scams:
• Donate to charities you are familiar with, or that have experience assisting with disaster relief.
• Check the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau website, www.charitiesnys.com, to review information about the charity before you give and make sure it is legitimate.
• Check how the charity plans to use your donation, including the services and individuals that your donation will support.
• Check the charity’s website or call the charity to confirm that all of your contribution will be used for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, and whether you are able to restrict your gift to that purpose.
• Avoid charities that make emotional appeals but are vague in answering your questions.
• Be wary if an organization will not provide written information about its charitable programs and finances upon request.
• Avoid giving cash. Make checks out directly to the charity or through the charity’s website.
• Do not disclose personal or financial information
• Beware of callers who want money fast or use high-pressured solicitation tactics.
If you believe an organization is misrepresenting its work, or that a scam is taking place, please contact the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau at (212) 416-8401. Consumers who receive suspicious requests for donations or post-disaster services are encouraged to immediately report them to the Division of Consumer Protection using the online Consumer Complaint Form found at www.dos.ny.gov or by calling 1-800-697-1220.