Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman offers tips for New Yorkers who plan to donate to Japan earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.
“This office encourages such generosity, and will work with New Yorkers to ensure the donations they make are protected,” he said:
• Give to established charities you are familiar with and closely examine those that appeared solely in response to an event or those with unfamiliar names.
• Look charities up and review information before giving. Also, check the attorney general’s website — www.charitiesnys.com — for financial reports and to ensure that the charity is a recognized tax-exempt organization. Helpful websites include the American Institute of Philanthropy at www.charitywatch.org; Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, www.bbb.org; Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator.org; and GuideStar, www.guidestar.org
• Before texting a contribution, check the charity’s website or call it to confirm it has authorized contributions to be made via text message.
• Ask how your donation will be used, including the services and organizations your donation will support. Ask if the charity already has worked in Japan or has relationships with any local relief organizations and what it plans to do with any excess donations. Avoid charities with vague answers.
• Avoid unsolicited spam e-mails and check the Department of Homeland Security tips at www.us-cert.gov.
• Never give cash
• Be careful about personal information. Avoid giving credit card or personal information over the phone or by text message.
Report suspicious organizations to the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau at [email protected] or (212) 416-8402.