"The legitimate charities will welcome all of those questions because they have nothing to hide," she said.
The Secretary of State's office maintains an online database of registered West Virginia charitable organizations. The list of 3,248 registered organizations can be accessed on the Secretary of State's website, www.wvsos.com, by clicking on the "Wise Charitable Giving" link at the top of the page.
The database offers details on the charity's total contributions, how much came from West Virginians, how the charity distributed the funds and how much of those funds were used in the state.
Not all valid charities are listed, however. Only those that receive more than $25,000 in donations during a year and do not use professional fundraising consultants or counsel are required to register.
Other exceptions include the American Red Cross, which is monitored on the federal level, and the Salvation Army, because it is a religious organization exempt from registration requirements.
Tennant said if a charity is not listed online and you suspect it may be fraudulent, you can report it by calling her office at 1-866-767-8683.
Goodwin said suspicious charitable solicitations made in connection with Sandy relief efforts should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.
The center maintains a 24-hour hotline to report scams at 866-720-5721. Reports can also be made by emailing disas...@leo.gov.
Residents can also report suspicious e-mail and online solicitations to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.h...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.