Statement By Attorney General Eliot Spitzer Concerning Hurricane Relief Efforts

My office has received numerous calls from individuals seeking information about how to make financial contributions to those who have suffered as a result of Hurricane Katrina. This is a humane and worthwhile effort that I encourage.

However, past experience shows the need for care and caution in making contributions. That is because we know that unscrupulous individuals will often try to take advantage of tragedy. These individuals will prey on the public's generosity to obtain money for themselves by falsely claiming that funds collected will assist victims of the hurricane.

The best advice for New Yorkers and donors everywhere is to direct their donations only to organizations that they know and trust.

In addition, it is important for potential donors to ask an organization how contributions will be used. It is a donor’s right to know exactly how their money will be spent. If a donor does not approve of the intended use for the money, the donor should look to another charity.

Donors should also be particularly wary of solicitations from professional telemarketers. That is because telemarketing firms keep most of the money they raise and give only a small portion of the money to charity. Instead, individuals should send their donations directly to a charity, because this helps maximize the amount of funds available to assist the victims of tragedy.

Finally, anyone who has information on improper fund raising activities or questions about charitable donations may contact my office at or by 212- 416-8401.