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Indiana AG warns about Hurricane Dorian scams

Keep a record of all donations and make sure you are only charged the amount you donated.
(NBC News file photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Indiana's attorney general is warning Hoosiers about Hurricane Dorian scams.

“Hoosiers are generous people,” Attorney General Curtis Hill said. “They need to know about potential scams that could ensnare those trying to help victims of Hurricane Dorian. Don’t let scammers stop you from donating, but be sure to research organizations before giving them money. Double check before you write a check.”

If you are donating to relief efforts, the attorney general offers these tips:

  • Search online for the cause you care about — like “hurricane relief” or “homeless kids” — plus phrases like “best charity” or “highly rated charity.” Once you find a specific charity you’re considering giving to, search its name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.” If you find red flags, it might be best to find another organization.
  • Check out the charity’s website. Does it give information about the programs you want to support, or how it uses donations? How much of your donation will go directly to support the programs you care about? If you can’t find detailed information about a charity’s mission and programs, be suspicious.
  • Use one of these organizations to help you research charities: BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and GuideStar.
  • If you’re considering giving to a crowdfunding effort (for example, through GoFundMe) examine the background and expertise of the individual or group raising money and the exact path of the funds. You may be able to instead donate directly to a local organization in the area affected.
  • See what your state’s charity regulator has to say about the charity. In Indiana, it’s the Attorney General’s Office. From another state? Look it up at nasconet.org.

Another thing you should do is review your bank account and credit card statements closely to make sure you are only charged the amount you donated. Also, keep a record of all donations.

If you are the victim of a scam or believe you might be, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-800-382-5516 or going online and clicking the “File a Complaint” box at the bottom of the page.