• 63°

Secretary of State urges charitable givers to beware

Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall recently issued this statement regarding charitable giving to relief efforts in the wake of Tuesdays earthquake in Haiti:

I know North Carolinas generous spirit of giving will come to the fore in many ways to help earthquake victims in the coming days, but I caution citizens to do their homework when making donations. Sadly, there are people who view tragedies such as this as an opportunity to take advantage of the giving public, so make sure you know the group you are giving to.

The best way to make sure that your charitable dollar is spent wisely is to be proactive when you choose to give. Do not wait until you get an email from a group that you are not familiar with, imploring you to help with an online donation. Instead, decide how much you want to give, and then seek out the relief organization you want to get your donation. The US Department of State has current, up to date information about disaster relief efforts on the ground in Haiti and how you can help on its website at www.state.gov/.

If you suspect that you have been contacted by a scam group posing as a relief organization, please report it to the Secretary of States Charitable Solicitation Licensing Division at 1-888-830-4989.