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Hurricane Sandy aftermath likely to spawn giving scams

Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy routinely spawn scams to collect money that never reaches disaster victims.  That’s why North Carolina’s Attorney General is warning state residents to check out charities before giving.  And, as WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports, by following a few common sense guidelines, donors can make sure their gifts aren’t lining the pockets of a con artist.

Those planning to donate to help victims of Hurricane Sandy should initiate contact with the charity directly.  That’s the bottom line, says Attorney General Roy Cooper, to make sure money goes to the right place.  Replying to unsolicited emails, text messages, or phone calls can lead to stolen credit card or bank account information – or even up to 90 percent of a donation being kept by the telemarketer.  

If you decide to donate online, make it’s a secure website.  Cooper suggests looking for a lock icon on the page and a web address that starts with “https”.  And, says Cooper, if you suspect a scam is afoot, contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s office. 

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. 

For detailed financial information about a charity, contact the NC Secretary of State’s office at (888) 830‑4989 or www.secretary.state.nc.us/csl, or visit http://www.guidestar.org.

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.