Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

AG Eric Schneiderman Urges New Yorkers Donating to Harvey Relief to be Wary of Scams

August 31, 2017

As published by The New York Daily News, on August 30, 2017.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is warning warm-hearted New Yorkers looking to help victims of Tropical Storm Harvey to be on the look-out for scams.

Schneiderman urged New Yorkers on Wednesday to help with the relief efforts for the flood victims throughout Texas and the Gulf Coast, but he’s warning people to give wisely.

“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,” he said.

The attorney general offered several tips to ensure that donations reach their intended recipients.

He urged donors to give to established charities and to take the time to research the charitable organizations and to ask for information in writing. Any legitimate organization should be willing to send information about their work and finances, he said.

Would-be donors should also ask where their money will go.

If contacted by a telemarketer, people can look at the AG’s annual report to see what percentage of donations goes toward fundraising and the organization itself — bypassing the intended targets of assistance.

People should avoid charities that make “emotional appeals but are vague in answering your questions,” he said in a release.

Schneiderman also warned people to check a charity’s website before texting a contribution to make sure it’s not a scam and that any donations made on an online site like GoFundMe or CrowdRise will got to the charity and not the person raising the money.

People should also never give cash, avoid responding to unsolicited spam emails, be wary of giving personal information, and should report suspicious organizations to the Attorney General’s charities bureau.

“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,” Schneiderman said.