Rendell asks PA residents to support Haiti

Governor Rendell is urging Pennsylvanians to help Haitian relief efforts by donating money.

Rendell suggests the Red Cross. You can automatically donate $10 to the organization by texting “HAITI” to 90999. That adds ten dollars to your next phone bill, but the money will go to earthquake relief.

Meantime, Attorney General Tom Corbett is telling commonwealth residents to do their research before making contributions. His office sent out a press release reminding people that scam artists often take advantage of natural disasters by trying to solicit “contributions” to phony charities.  He’s issuing the following tips:

·         Be wary of high-pressure tactics and door-to-door collections.

·         If you are making a contribution electronically, be certain that you are using a secure Internet site.

·         Be cautious of “SPAM” email messages that ask you to click on links, open files or download photos (these could contain computer viruses).

·         Be skeptical of email messages or posts on social networking sites from people claiming to be foreign officials or surviving victims asking for electronic donations.

·         Ask for details about any charity before you make a donation (legitimate charities will always explain their programs and services).

·         Check to see if a charity is registered in PA before making a contribution (charity registration info is available on the PA Department of State website at www.dos.state.pa.us).

·         Ask for information about how funds will be spent (legitimate charities will tell you what percentage of your gift will go toward community services, operating expenses or fundraising).

·         Write checks directly to the charity, rather than giving cash.

·         Be watchful for fictitious organizations or websites created by scam artists that are designed to sound or look similar to legitimate relief agencies.

Corbett spokesman Nils Frederiksen says people should be especially wary of suspicious online solicitations.

Rendell says he’s asked Major General Jessica Wright, the head of the Pennsylvania National Guard, to monitor any requests for help, but a Guard spokesman says as of right now,  a mobilization to Haiti isn’t expected.

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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