Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is encouraging New Yorkers to assist relief efforts overseas, and is offering information for those planning to donate to Japan earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is encouraging New Yorkers to assist relief efforts overseas, and is offering information for those planning to donate to Japan earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.

1. Give to Established Charities -Donate to organizations you are familiar with, or have an experience assisting in disaster relief. Closely examine the charities that appeared solely in response to an event, or those with unfamiliar names.

2. Look Charities Up - Review information about the charity before you give. Check the Attorney General’s website at www.charitiesnys.com for financial reports on charities, or ask the charity directly for its reports. Confirm that the charity is a recognized tax-exempt organization.

3. Before you Text It In - Check the charity’s website or call the charity to confirm it has authorized contributions to be made via text message. One thing to keep in mind is that donations via text messaging may not reach the charity until after your phone bill is paid. It may be faster to contribute directly to the charity.

4. Avoid Unsolicited Spam Emails - These formats are usually not associated with legitimate charities. Check the Department of Homeland Security tips, such as Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks that are posted at www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST04-014.html.

5. Never Give Cash - Give your contribution by check made payable to the charity but also avoid giving credit card or personal information over the phone or by text message. In all cases, make sure you are familiar with the organization and check to see that the fundraising campaign is legitimate.

Report Suspicious Organizations. If you believe an organization is misrepresenting its work, or that a scam is taking place, contact the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau at charities.bureau@ag.ny.gov or call (212) 416-8402.