Posted at: 11/01/2012 5:45 PM
Updated at: 11/01/2012 7:15 PM
Scammers Using Superstorm Sandy to Steal Donations
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The situation on the East Coast has inspired many charities to pitch in and help.
Many are out collecting donations, but not all of them are legit.
No matter where or when it hits, every time there's a natural disaster someone is looking to make a quick buck.
"After any major disaster such as this, yes, we always see the scam artist," Darrel Hildebrant explains.
Crime Prevention Specialist Darrel Hildebrant heard his first complaint Wednesday morning.
"I received two or three in the morning. I didn't think too much about it," Hildebrant says.
Since then his phone has been ringing off the hook.
"I would say I'm at 25-30 now," Hildebrant explains.
Each one complaining about unsolicited phone calls and e-mails looking for money to send to the East Coast.
Thursday morning Hildebrant decided to send out a warning in his daily alert.
"We got over 19,000 subscribers that get that every morning and I come in early in the morning. I put that together and send it out," says Hildebrant.
His message is to only go through trusted charities and local groups like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, or United Way.
"We will not be calling people asking them to make a donation via the phone," Olmsted County United Way President Karen Mathison says.
At the United Way of Olmsted County, they've set up a fund that goes directly to the people in New York and the East Coast.
Their advice is to always donate locally with groups you trust that will make sure every donated dollar gets to the people in need.
"Certainly our friends in Austin, Winona and in Albert Lea and the nearby areas are all working together with the United Way of the New York City area," Mathison says.
An area in desperate need of support.
While the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other charities are working on the immediate impact of hurricane Sandy, the United Way is focusing their efforts on long-term issues.
Money donated to the United Way will go towards putting communities back together in the coming months.