Attorney General Jackley Warns Consumers about Hurricane Sandy Relief Scams

Monday, November 5, 2012

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PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley warns South Dakotans to be on guard for unscrupulous scammers looking for donations to help the victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Sadly, this is typical behavior we see from scam artists after there has been a disaster of this proportion. One of the most common traits the scammers will use is high pressure sales tactics, so again, be on guard.
“Unfortunately, the generosity of South Dakotans makes us targets of many unscrupulous individuals during this recovery time,” said Jackley. “Those who simply want to help must proceed with caution when choosing a charity or answering email messages asking for assistance.”
 
Here are a few tips to avoid becoming a victim:
  • Verify the legitimacy of the nonprofit organization as well as its nonprofit status. Visit such sites as www.charitynavigator.org or www.guidestar.org.
  • Ask specifically how this donation will be used.
  • Consider giving to charitable organizations with a strong history in providing disaster relief.
  • Beware of charitable organizations that use sound alike names of legitimate companies.
  • Donors should not respond to any unsolicited emails or text messages, but rather go directly to recognized charities or aid organizations.
  • Do not pay cash. For security reasons write a check. If you are asked to make the check payable to a person, be wary.
  • If you are promised a prize in exchange for your donation, you should err on the side of caution.
  • If you want additional information about the charity, ask that they send it to you in writing. Any legitimate company will be more than happy to provide this information to verify their legitimacy.
 
For more information about charitable giving, contact the South Dakota Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or consumerhelp@state.sd.us.