Watch out for charity scams during natural disasters

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Donating to experienced disaster relief organizations is your best bet to provide emergency help for victims of Hurricane Florence. 

In times of need, people feel called to donate. Little do so many of us know, scammers are out there trying to take advantage of donations. 

That’s why the Better Business Bureau encourages consumers to support experienced disaster relief charities. 

Jenn Love, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, says, “Isn’t that so unfortunate because people really want to donate to this cause… We’re from the south, we’ve survived hurricanes before, and they’ll donate and the scammers will keep all that money to themselves.”    

The Better Business Bureau urges consumers to be careful with who they’re donating to making sure donations go to organizations that have disaster relief experience. 

“Some people actually mean well, but they don’t have the resources to give their monetary or even physical donations to the people who really need it and then you do have the scammers out there that collect money, don’t distribute it, or they collect all your banking information and they use it for their cause,” explains Love. 

There are scammers out there who take your donations and act as a so-called “middle man” claiming to donate your money to a bigger organization. 

“Scammers will do that,” adds Love. “They’ll send you a donation form for you to fill it out online, and they’ll collect that information and they’ll use it for themselves.” 

Consumers should also make sure their donations are sent to the right place. 

“Part of the reason why we ask for people to donate to organizations that have disaster relief experience is because they actually are already in the field. They’re on ground where the disasters actually happening. If you’re not already there and you have donations it’s really hard to distribute those donations to the victims who actually need it quickly,” says Love. 

Here are some tips that the Better Business Bureau offers: 

  • Verify trustworthiness. 

  • Check for presence. 

  • Check for direct aid. find out if the charity is providing direct aid or is raising money for other groups. 

  • Be cautious with donations. 

  • Understand crowdfunding. 

If you have a scam you would like me to investigate — feel free to send me an email at smasters@klfy.com 

If you know of scammers trying to pose as charities, contact the Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General’s Office. 

If you do fall victim to this scam,  you usually won’t get your money back. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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