The devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti is almost beyond our imagination. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the millions of people who have been affected by this tragedy, and who will continue to face extreme hardships in the weeks and months ahead.

If you want to help the Haiti Relief effort you are encouraged to adhere to the following tips:

  • Give to Established Charities. Beware of organizations with which you are not familiar, or which appear to have been created solely in response to this tragedy.  Do not give in response to unsolicited spam emails. Watch out for charities with names that resemble those of prominent or established organizations.  Some fake charities use names similar to well known charities in order to confuse donors.  Also, give to charities who are experienced in assisting with disaster relief. 
  • Evaluate the Charities. Review information about the charities before you give.  Check the Attorney General’s website – www.charitiesnys.com  - for financial reports on charities, or ask the charities directly for the reports.  Confirm that the organization is a recognized tax-exempt organization.  The following websites contain helpful information to evaluate charities:
  • Ask How Donation Will Be Used. Ask specifically how the charity plans to use your donation, including the services and organizations your donation will support.  Ask if the charity already has worked in Haiti or has relationships with any local relief organizations.  Also, ask what the charity plans to do with any excess donations.  Avoid charities that make emotional appeals but are vague in answering your questions.  Be wary if an organization will not provide written information about charitable programs and finances upon request. Any legitimate organization will be glad to send you this information.
  • Never Give Cash. Give your contribution by check made payable to the charity. 
  • Be Careful About Personal Information.   Avoid giving credit card or personal information over the phone or by text message. In all cases, make sure you are familiar with the organization and check to see that the fundraising campaign is legitimate.

If you suspect that a scam is taking place, please contact the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau at 212.416.8402.