Posts Tagged ‘charitable donations’

Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills offers advice about helping victims of Hurricane Harvey

Mills warns consumers to avoid giving to potentially fraudulent websites

Press Release
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
08/29/2017 04:04 PM EDT

AUGUSTA – Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills advised Mainers to choose wisely in sending funds to agencies to help the families and communities suffering from the extreme weather produced by Hurricane Harvey in Texas this week.

“A natural disaster brings out the best us, and people around the world offer whatever we can to aid victims like those down in Texas this week,” said Mills. “Unfortunately, it also sometimes brings out people who take advantage of our good nature and provide no help to those in need.”

AG Mills warned against giving money to organizations that are unfamiliar or not recommended by her office or other official sources. AG Mills shared a list of those organizations that are considered reliable

“If consumers have any questions or complaints about a particular organization I encourage them to call our Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-436-2131.”

Other sources for guidance related to charitable giving can be found at the links below for the Maine Attorney General, the Texas Attorney General, and the Federal Trade Commission. http://www.maine.gov/ag/consumer/charities/index.shtml

https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/charities-nonprofits-registration-filings

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2017/08/ftc-advice-helping-hurricane-harvey-victims

The American Red Cross is encouraging people to donate money on its website, http://www.redcross.org, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10. Apple is also accepting Red Cross donations via iTunes and the Apple App Store.

The Red Cross is also seeking blood. Upcoming blood drives in southern Maine:

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at: Portland Blood Donation Center 524 Forest Ave., Portland

Thursday at: Maine Mall, 364 Maine Mall Road South Portland

AG Mills added that she plans on donating blood in the coming days.

Americares, an emergency response organization based in Connecticut, is delivering emergency medicine and relief supplies and working with a local clinic in Houston. Make a donation at americares.org.

United Way Worldwide has a relief fund to provide shelter and basic needs, as well as long-term recovery efforts. Donate at https://www.unitedway.org/.

The Salvation Army is accepting donations for hurricane relief at give.salvationarmyusa.org.

To help pets stranded by Hurricane Harvey, donations are being accepted by the Humane Society of the United States at http://www.humanesociety.org/.

For volunteer opportunities or other places to donate, check with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, at nvoad.org. ###

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Check on Unknown Charities, Especially Following Tragedies

Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Encourages Check on Unknown Charities, Especially Following Tragedies 

Phony Charities Reported following Hurricane Sandy and School Shooting in Newtown

GARDINER  –  Citing reports of bogus charities springing up in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the school shooting in Connecticut, Commissioner Anne Head from the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation is encouraging Maine residents to check the legitimacy of unknown charities, particularly those that seem to quickly appear following a tragedy.  She urges potential donors to always research charitable organizations before making a donation.  A quick check with the Department will provide essential information, such as whether the charity is authorized to raise money in Maine and whether disciplinary action has ever been taken against the organization.

Under Maine law, charitable entities and those who solicit money for charities, are required to become licensed with the Department’s Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation before soliciting contributions.  The agency collects information about charitable activity in Maine and makes it available to the public.  The Office also receives, and acts upon, complaints related to charitable solicitation.

“Charitable solicitation scams aren’t new, but those attempting to take advantage of people’s generosity in the aftermath of natural disasters and other tragedies seem especially reprehensible,” Commissioner Head commented.  “Because the victims of scams might never know they’ve been taken advantage of, or may be reluctant to report their loss of money, it’s important for government agencies to be proactive and alert the public about the very real potential for fraud.”

Commissioner Head advises individuals to ask questions and seek printed information about unknown charities if solicited for a donation; to confirm their legitimacy with regulators; to never send cash or wire money when requested to do so; to always keep receipts of donations; and to report concerns or complaints about questionable solicitations with the Department and law enforcement.

Information about charities can be obtained through the Department’s website, specifically at www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/charitable. Links allow for the search of licensed charitable organizations, as well as disciplinary actions.  Questions and complaints can also be made by calling the Charitable Solicitations Program at 207-624-8525.

Additionally, the website includes a News Alert with further guidance for avoiding scams.  Information and other resources are also available from the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov/charityfraud/).

The Department of Professional and Financial Regulation protects the citizens of Maine through the regulation of State-chartered financial institutions, the insurance industry, grantors of consumer credit, the securities industry, and numerous professions and occupations providing services to the public.  In order to encourage the development of sound ethical businesses which serve the needs of Maine citizens, the Department fosters a healthy business environment through competent, impartial and efficient regulation.

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