Donate wisely to help earthquake victims, AG Cooper urges NC
Release date: 4/27/2015
Scammers likely to pose as charities after disaster in Nepal
Raleigh: North Carolinians who want to help victims of this weekend’s deadly earthquake in Nepal should watch out for charity scams if they plan to give to relief efforts, Attorney General Roy Cooper urged today.
A magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck the Asian nation of Nepal on April 25, leveling buildings and killing thousands of people. Relief efforts are underway to aid victims of the disaster.
“Our hearts go out to the victims of this terrible earthquake, and many of us want to help,” Cooper said. “Unfortunately, some scammers will pose as charities to try to divert your donations from reaching those who truly need them.”
While Cooper’s office has not yet received complaints about fraudulent fundraising efforts following the devastating earthquake, previous disasters have spawned charity scams and are likely again. Cooper encouraged North Carolinians to give generously to those in need but to watch out for fraudulent requests for donations.
“Please consider supporting relief efforts if you can, but make sure your donation goes where it will really do good,” Cooper said. “If you’re asked to donate and suspect it’s a scam, report it to my office.”
To avoid scams and make sure your donations go to legitimate charities:
Watch out for fake charities that sound real. Some scammers use names that are very close to the names of real charities, non-profits or even law enforcement agencies. If you want to donate, contact the real charity or organization at a website or phone number you know to be valid.
Do your homework before giving. Visit www.give.org to see if national charities meet the standards set by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, and www.charitywatch.org for ratings of charities by the American Institute of Philanthropy. Other good sources of information are www.guidestar.org and www.charitynavigator.org .
Avoid pushy telemarketers. Telemarketers that refuse to answer your questions, offer to pick up your donation or pressure you are usually up to no good. Also, some telemarketers keep up to 90 percent of the money they collect for charities. Your money will go further if you give directly to the real charity, not to hired fundraisers.
Don’t respond to unsolicited emails and text messages asking you to give. Even if the message looks legitimate, it could be an example of phishing. The messages may include links to copycat web sites of legitimate charities to try to trick donors.
Be careful of social networking posts asking you to donate. The cause may sound worthy, but you have no way of verifying how your money would really be used.
Consider crowdfunding requests very carefully. Crowdfunding sites allow people to raise money for causes and projects online, but they can be misused by scammers. Make sure you know who you’re donating to and how the funds will be used, and ask how much of your donation would go to the crowdfunding site instead of the cause
Don’t give cash. Cash gifts can be lost or stolen. For security and tax record purposes, it’s best to pay by credit card. If you pay by check, make it out to the charity itself, not the fundraiser.
Protect your personal information. Never give your credit card or bank account number to someone you don’t know who contacts you, for any reason.
Say no to high-pressure appeals. Legitimate fundraisers won’t push you to give on the spot.
Consumers can get more tips on giving to charity
or report potential scams to the Attorney General’s office by calling 1-877- 5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint
Media Contact: Noelle Talley (919) 716-6484