Police warn that there are people out there who are trying to cash in on the misery of earthquake victims in Haiti by setting up bogus charities.
“With any large disaster, like the one in Haiti, despite those that are legit there will be some taking advantage,” said Rockingham Police Department Major Billy Kelly.
“It’s not a big problem in Richmond County, but it’s better to be a step-ahead,” Kelly said.
According to the North Carolina’s Secretary of State’s Web site, all organizations must register before collecting donations and in turn, will be listed on the Secretary of State’s database as a charitable organization.
There are those, like the Red Cross, who are exempt from registering in every single state.
“Those exempt will be on file though,” Kelley said. “You have to look for them.”
On the site, the name will be listed along with their type, status and license number.
“If someone wants to find out if the businesses is legitimate, simply go to the Web site,” Kelly said.
But if the organization in question is not on file, worried citizens can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to prompt an investigation by the state to see why they are not registered.
“In short, I advise all North Carolinians to “check before you write one,” said Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall.
According to Kelly, following 9/11 many people tried to make a quick profit on the emotions of those mourning the loss of life.
“A lot of people take advantage of a sad and tragic event,” Kelley said.
“North Carolinians are known for their generosity and willingness to help their neighbors,” Marshall said. “While there are many deserving organizations that need our support to continue their good works, we all want to ensure that our hard-earned money is going to be spent wisely when we donate to our favorite causes. A quick call to our Charitable Solicitation Licensing Section can help you educate yourself about an organization’s background before you make a donation.”
For more information, go to www.secretary.state.nc.us/csl/ and click on “Search Our Registry” and search for the name of the organization in question or call (919) 807-2214.
Staff writer Bryan Stewart can be reached at 997-3111 ext. 15 or by e-mail at email@example.com.