CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Secretary of State Mac Warner encourages all West Virginians to give to those in need after disasters, but to use caution.
“Anytime there is a natural disaster anywhere in the United States and beyond, West Virginians step up and help out,” said Secretary of State Mac Warner. “But there are some individuals out there who like to prey on our generosity and our humanity.”
The recent flooding caused by more than four foot of rain dumping down on southern Texas is a perfect example. Warner said that scam charities routinely start up during events that cause families and individuals to be displaced from their homes.
Warner issued a public notice on Wednesday reminding residents to be cautious when donating to relief efforts to assist those families displaced by Tropical Storm Harvey. A simple search on the Secretary of State’s website will help contributors confirm that the charity they want to donate to is registered to solicit and accept donations in West Virginia.
Before contributions are made to a charity, Warner suggests that donors go to this link: http://apps.sos.wv.gov/business/charities
. Then type in the name of the charity and hit “Search."
“It is also very important for the public to help us identify scam charities. I can promise that we will immediately investigate every credible report of an illegal charity operating anywhere in West Virginia,” Warner said.
If you suspect a problem with a charity or an organization seeking donations for any project, organization or relief effort, please file a complaint or contact us by phone at 304-558-6000.
Some organizations not listed in our database are not necessarily out of code or fraudulent. Some organizations, such as the American Red Cross, are exempt because they are federally regulated. Other organizations, such as the Salvation Army, are exempt because they are religious organizations. For more information on charity watchdog organizations, visit http://www.sos.wv.gov/business-licensing/charities/Pages/Non-ProfitCharitiesWatchdogOrganizations.aspx
Link: Charities Database
Link: Charity Watchdogs