AG Schneiderman offers tips for helping Japan earthquake relief effort

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has released some tips for New Yorkers planning to donate to Japan earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.

He advises that people give to established charities – organizations you're familiar with, or have an experience assisting in disaster relief. He cautions people to look out for charities that appear solely in response to an event.

Attorney General's website – . There, you'll find financial reports on charities and confirm that the charity is a recognized tax-exempt organization.

Before you text a contribution, check the charity's website or call the charity to confirm it has authorized contributions to be made via text message. Donations via text messaging may not reach the charity until after your phone bill is paid, so it may be faster to contribute directly to the charity.

Avoid unsolicited spam emails. These formats are usually not associated with legitimate charities.

Never give cash. Give your contribution by check made payable to the charity.

Avoid giving credit card or personal information over the phone or by text message.

You can report suspicious organizations by contacting the attorney general's office at 212-416-8402.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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