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Officials Warn Against Japan Relief Scams

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Japan earthquake & tsunami

A man looks at the devastated port in the town of Onagawa in Miyagi prefecture on March 14, 2011. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

haskell_feature Peter Haskell
Peter Haskell joined WCBS in 1994. This followed stints at WCTC Radio...
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ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) —  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has released some tips for New Yorkers planning to donate to Japan earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.

He advises that people give to established charities — organizations you’re familiar with, or have an experience assisting in disaster relief. He cautions people to look out for charities that appear solely in response to an event.

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You can check on the charity before you give by going to the Attorney General’s website. There, you’ll find financial reports on charities and confirm that the charity is a recognized tax-exempt organization.

LISTEN: Peter Haskell reports.

Before you text a contribution, check the charity’s website or call the charity to confirm it has authorized contributions to be made via text message. Donations via text messaging may not reach the charity until after your phone bill is paid, so it may be faster to contribute directly to the charity.

Avoid unsolicited spam emails. These formats are usually not associated with legitimate charities.

Never give cash. Give your contribution by check made payable to the charity.

Avoid giving credit card or personal information over the phone or by text message.

You can report suspicious organizations by contacting the attorney general’s office at 212-416-8402.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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