ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) warns New Yorkers to be careful of sham charities amid the ongoing response to the Buffalo mass shooter attack. OAG said scammers will often use incidents of crisis to perpetuate frauds to divert donations away from the intended recipients.

Anyone who is considering making a donation to organizations that are purportedly assisting victims of the Buffalo shooting should consult OAG’s charitable giving tips before donating. OAG has offered the following guidelines for those donating to those impacted in the wake of the terror attack they said.

  • Check Before Giving – Donate to charities you are familiar with and carefully review information about the charity before you give. Most charities are required to register and file financial reports with the OAG Charities Bureau.
  • Ask How Your Donation Will Be Used – Find out how the charity plans to use your donation, including the services and individuals your donation will support.
  • Look Into Newly Formed Organizations Carefully – In an aftermath of tragedies, new organizations emerge to meet community needs. Most of these organizations are well-intentioned, but some may not have the experience or infrastructure to follow through on their promises, or just be scams.
  • Solicited by Email? Find Out Who is Soliciting.
    • If you receive a solicitation by email, find out who is behind that email address.
    • Contact the charity whose name is in the email or visit its website.
    • Do not give personal information or your credit card number in response to an email.
  • Be Careful When Giving Through Social Media or Other Fundraising Sites – Before giving through these social media or fundraising sites, research the identity of the organizer of the fundraising. Online platforms that host groups and individuals soliciting for causes may not thoroughly vet those who use their service.
  • Exercise Caution Before You Text A Contribution – Always check the charity’s website or call the charity to confirm it has authorized contributions to be made via text message. 
  • Don’t Give Cash – Give directly to the charity either by check made payable to the organization or through the charity’s website.
  • Be Careful About Personal Information – Be cautious before giving out a credit card or personal information over the phone, by text message, or via the internet.

OAG said to report suspicious organizations misrepresenting their work, or if you believe a fundraising or charitable scam is taking place, to contact the Charities Bureau at complaints@ag.ny.gov.