Disaster Relief Charity Scam – watch out!

Disaster Relief Charity ScamDisasters happen many times a year and huge disasters impacting the US that get massive coverage in the international media happen less frequently (Katrina 2005, Sandy 2012 and now Harvey 2017). What has also happened at all of these disasters is a vile crime. The Disaster Relief Charity Scam.

At times of crisis, such as right now in Bangladesh and Nepal, where some 1,200 people have died and millions have lost their homes, charity organisations call out for financial and material support to help them in their disaster relief efforts. These organisations have a lot of experience (unfortunately) in helping the less fortunate following these disasters and their collection of money and material is (usually) efficient and effective.

What also happens are well meaning people who want to help with fund raising for a disaster, they set up a page on a fundraising website or on social media and ask for donations, which they intend to go to the victims. This is very laudable, but how can you be certain of these people’s bona fides.

This has also given the bad guys a way of making easy money, by similarly setting up bogus fund raising pages and pocketing all the cash that comes their way. You can be absolutely certain that none of the monies go where they are most needed.

So treat any e-mail or Facebook message from a “charity” with the same contempt that you reserve for any unsolicited message (according to Commandment 5) and simply delete/ignore it.

If you want to give funds towards a specific disaster, the proper charities usually have a way of enabling you to specify where you want the donation to go. So go directly to their websites and donate there. Don’t click links from social media, text messages or e-mail.

So look up the big guys such as The Red Cross, UNICEF and Oxfam, donate to them and don’t fall for the Disaster Relief Charity Scam.

If you want to give to a lesser known/unknown charity then you can check them out with the likes of the Irish Charities RegulatorWise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator or Charity Watch.