RALEIGH — North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall cautions that the second Category 4 hurricane to hit the US in less than three weeks may spawn a wave of solicitations from fake charities in its wake.
“We are all witnessing so much suffering caused by natural disasters right now, from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, to an 8.1 magnitude earthquake and Hurricane Katia in Mexico to wildfires out west,” Secretary Marshall said Tuesday.
“North Carolinians are no strangers to the devastation hurricanes can bring and we give generously when we see people struggling after any natural disaster. I urge everyone to make sure their generosity gets to those in need and does the maximum good by following a few basic tips”:
• Be wary of high pressure solicitations on social media or via emails or texts.
• Give to established charities with resources on the ground to help the affected regions.
• Watch out for groups mimicking the names of established, respected charities.
• If you get an unsolicited call, text or email from an organization, research that organization yourself online instead of just clicking on links the organization provides. Also make your donations directly on the charity’s official website rather than clicking on a link in a text or email.
• Never give your credit card or bank account information over the phone or email.
• Visit the Secretary of State’s Charitable Solicitation Licensing Division online at http://www.sosnc.gov/CSL/ to research charities registered with the Secretary of State’s Office, and download the Secretary of State’s Smart Donor Checklist for a handy list of suggested questions you should ask any charity that solicits you for contributions.
“I realize there are new charities and GoFundMe pages that inevitably spring up after tragedies like these and many of them may be well-intentioned, but it is always wise to look for those charities that we know have the infrastructure and the resources on the ground in the affected regions to get help to people in the quickest, most efficient manner,” noted Secretary Marshall.
For North Carolinians who want further guidance, Charity Navigator has compiled and rated a list of charities helping with Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.