BBB Warns: Beware of Scams Surrounding Hurricane Matthew
Scammers pretend to represent charitable efforts
Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning those who want to help victims of Hurricane Matthew to be cautious when giving money or other assistance to charities. Fundraising efforts are already showing up on crowdfunding sites like Gofundme.com. While some efforts are legitimate, others are scammers posing as fake charities to take advantage of those who want to help.
“When a naturual disaster like this occurs, scam artists come out of the woodwork,” says Reanna Smith-Hamblin, President/CEO of the BBB serving Louisville, Southern Indiana and Western KY. “If you want to give, do your homework first, to be sure your donation is helping the right people.”
The best way to help is to donate money to a reputable humanitarian organization that has a long history of responding to local, national, and international disasters. The BBB offers the following tips to help you decide where to direct donations:
- Be cautious of organizations with copy-cat names. They may be similar, but not exactly the same as the reputable charities.
- Be cautious when giving online to unfamiliar charities. Many fake websites are set up after disasters, to “raise money.” All they are doing is stealing your personal information.
- Be cautious of emails and social media. Spam messages and emails may claim to link to a relief organization, or have attachments in the emails that contain a virus. Posts on social media may claim to show “never seen before” pictures of the disaster area, taking you to a fake website where personal information may be stolen.
- Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. You may want to avoid the middleman and give directly to charities that have a presence in the region. Check out the ultimate recipients of the donations to ensure that the organizations are equipped to effectively provide aid.
- Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations assist victims. All charities have fund-raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee.
- Rely on respected experts to evaluate a charity. Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers, because they may not have fully researched the listed relief organizations. BBB provides a Wise Giving Guide to charities at www.bbb.org/charity. The guide shows which charities are accredited by the BBB and whether they meet the BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
Do NOT be pressured into making contributions, as reputable charities do NOT use such tactics.
For more information on this event, contact Reanna Smith-Hamblin at
502-588- 0043 or [email protected].
Reanna Smith-Hamblin, President/CEO
Better Business Bureau serving Louisville, Southern Indiana, and Western Kentucky
844 South 4th Street
Louisville, KY 40203
bbb.org Start with Trust®
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