Use caution when responding to Hurricane Sandy relief requests

CLEVELAND - As the massive storm hitting the eastern U.S. continues, Attorney General Mike DeWine urges Ohioans to be cautious when responding to requests for donations to help those in harm's way.

"We naturally want to reach out and help those who face such powerful and deadly storms, and I encourage those who can to do so," said Attorney General DeWine. "But please be careful. Unfortunately, there are some who might use our generous nature to take the donations for themselves, not for those in need."

Research a charity by visiting www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov to find out whether the organization is registered and current in the state of Ohio.

When a charitable organization calls you seeking a donation, the caller must provide the name of the organization and the location of its principal place of business. Professional solicitors calling on behalf of an organization must also provide this basic information about the charity, in addition to disclosing the name of the professional solicitor and the fact that the solicitation is being conducted by the caller as a professional solicitor.

Warning signs that a charitable request might be a scam include:

- The charity's name is similar to a well-known, nationally recognized charity.
- Callers use high-pressure tactics to request immediate donations.
- The caller is hesitant or unable to answer questions.
- The caller offers to pick up donations immediately instead of waiting to receive them in the mail.
- The caller offers prizes in return for a donation.
- The caller requests checks to be made payable to a person instead of the charity.

If you suspect charitable fraud or have questions about a charity or a professional solicitor, call the Attorney General's Office at (800) 282-0515, or file a complaint online at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov .

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