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Watch Out For Hurricane Harvey Charity Scams, State Attorney General Warns

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Photo Credit: Jessica Glenza

As Hurricane turned Tropical Storm Harvey continues to batter parts of the Gulf Coast, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is cautioning to be wary of which charities they potentially donate to in an effort to aid the hundreds of thousands impacted.

Schneiderman urged New Yorkers to support charitable organizations on Wednesday, while offering tips to help locals ensure that their donation actually reaches its intended recipients.

As thousands continue to pledge funds to charitable foundations, Schneiderman offered a series of tips to aid those hoping to contribute to the relief effort.

The Attorney General notes that contributors should take time to research the organizations they choose to donate toward, and to ask for information in writing. If an organization refuses such a request, Schneiderman said it may be suspect. He notes that one should know where the money would go, by contacting the charity to see exactly how they intend to use possible donations.

“Ask specifically how the charity plans to use your donation, including the services and organizations your donation will support. Ask if the charity already has worked in the local area or has relationships with any local relief organizations,” Schneiderman said. “Also, ask what the charity plans to do with any excess donations. Avoid charities that make emotional appeals but are vague in answering your questions.”

Schneiderman said that Hudson Valley residents should be cautious with telephone solicitations asking for donations, noting that one can always hang up on solicitors. He added that, when texting a donation, donors should check the charity’s website or call the charity to confirm it has authorized such contributions.

“The damage and destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey throughout Texas and the Gulf Coast is simply unfathomable,” he said. “There will be tens of thousands of victims who will lose their homes because of this storm, and I encourage all New Yorkers to assist in the ongoing relief efforts.

“Unfortunately, there are always some who attempt to take advantage of a tragedy to line their own pockets at the expense of those who are truly in need. New Yorkers who give to charitable organizations supporting the victims of this storm can review our tips to ensure their donation will be put to good use.”

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