Police warn about charity frauds

Local News
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A man paddles through the neighborhood as Hurricane Florence leaves a trail of flooded roads, broken trees and downed power lines across Leland, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. (Ken Blevins/The Star-News via AP)

The Pennsylvania State Police is reminding people to be on alert for charity scams that may include, emails, phone calls, or pop-up charities as a result of Hurricane Florence. 

State police recommend residents do research and planning to ensure their donations are used to support the intended cause.

Among the tips offered:

  • Never provide personal information including social security number, date of birth, credit card number or address.
  • Be suspicious of any stranger calling asking for money, regardless of the situation.
  • Government agencies will never call to ask for verification of personal information, or to request payment.
  • Verify the legitimacy of any email or telephone solicitation by researching the organization or calling the company back.
  • Do not assume that charities posted on social media or on the internet are legitimate. Charities can be vetted at give.org, charitynavigator.org, charitywatch.org and guidestar.org.
  • Before giving to a specific charity, search its name along with terms such as complaint, review, rating or scam.
  • Be aware of copycat names and names similar to those of legitimate charities.
  • Make sure websites are correct and not copycats. Watch for misspellings or improper English.
  • Most legitimate charity websites end in .org instead of .com.
  • Never click on attachments and links in unsolicited emails.
  • Designate the disaster to ensure funds to toward disaster relief.
  • Legitimate charities do not normally ask for donations in cash, gift cards or by money transfers.
  • To be safer, pay by credit card or check. Never write a check payable to individuals.
  • Give to charities that are known and trusted.

Those who believe they have been the target of a scam can report them to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov, or by calling 877-382-4357.

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