Secretary of State warns of charity scams
Posted September 6, 2011
Updated September 7, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — People hoping to donate money to help the victims of Hurricane Irene should beware that a disaster can lead to scams, North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall warned Tuesday.
Marshall urges people to visit her department’s website to check out charities before donating. The site also provides information about how much of each donation goes toward services.
"I would like to see above 60 percent going to charity," Marshall said.
The SPCA of Wake County gives 94 percent of donations to charity.
"I can put a puppy in front of somebody...or a kitten, and there's the emotional aspect to open up a pocketbook," said Hope Hancock of the SPCA of Wake County. "But every donor has a right to know what we are doing with every penny that they give us."
Not all charities are required to register on the state's site.
A group of local charities known as the Wake Interfaith Disaster Team met on Tuesday to discuss ways to help Hurricane Irene victims along the North Carolina coast.
"We were just told by FEMA there's going to be a lot of needs with Hurricane Irene because many people didn't have flood insurance," said Rick Miller-Harraway, of Catholic Charities. "FEMA's not going to be able to help out on those situations. So, there's going to be tremendous need with Irene."
The charities were also concerned about scams popping up in the wake of Irene.
"It hurts the individual who has been damaged already. If they paid a contractor who is scamming, then they don't have any recourse to get that money back," said Pete Costas of the Salvation Army.