Scam of the day – August 29, 2017 – Beware of Hurricane Harvey charity scams

Hurricane Harvey, which first hit Texas four days ago has brought devastating rains, wind and flooding.   This kind of natural disaster brings out the best in us as many people are quick to donate to charities to help the survivors of the storms and the families of the victims.  This kind of natural disaster also brings out the worst in scammers  who are quick to take advantage of the generosity of people by contacting them posing as charities, but instead of collecting funds to help the victims of the storms, these scam artists steal the money for themselves under false pretenses.   Charities are not subject to the federal Do Not Call List so even if you are enrolled in the Do Not Call List, legitimate charities are able to contact you.  The problem is that whenever you are contacted on the phone, you can never be sure as to who is really calling you so you may be contacted either by a phony charity or a scammer posing as a legitimate charity.  Similarly, when you are solicited for a charitable contribution by email or text message you cannot be sure as to whether the person contacting you is legitimate or not.

TIPS

Never provide credit card information over the phone to anyone whom you have not called or in response to an email or text message.  Before you give to any charity, you may wish to check out the charity with www.charitynavigator.org where you can learn whether or not the charity itself is a scam.  You can also see how much of the money that the charity collects actually goes toward its charitable purposes and how much it uses for fund raising and administrative costs.  Here is a link to charitynavigator.org with a list of a number of highly rated charities helping in the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.  https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=5239

Recommended charities include Americares, International Relief Teams, Direct Relief, GlobalGiving, Save the Children and the American Red Cross.

Scam of the day – November 13, 2013 – Philippine Typhoon Haiyan scams

The devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan this past weekend in the Phillipines has aroused many people around the world to seek ways to help those affected by the storm.  Unfortunately, it has also aroused scammers take advantage of these people seeking to make charitable donations to aid the victims of the storm.  This should not be surprising because scammers are constantly taking advantage of natural disasters such as Hurricanes Irene and Sandy as well as unnatural disasters, such as the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut to scam good people who are only trying to help.  Phony charities are popping up and contacting people or setting up websites in an effort to steal your money and take advantage of the people already harmed by the storm.

TIPS

Never give to a charitable solicitor over the telephone or in response to an email or text message because you can never be sure that the person contacting you is who they say they are.  The first thing you should do before making any charitable contribution is make sure that the entity is a legitimate charity.  The best way to do that is to go to www.charitynavigator.org where you will find not only whether or not the charity is a legitimate charity, but also, how much the legitimate charity spends on its salaries and administrative costs as compared to the money that actually goes toward its charitable purposes.  Contact the charity to which you wish to make a donation by your smartphone or computer and make your donation after you have confirmed that the address you are using is accurate.  As for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, there are a number of legitimate charities you may wish to consider including the World Food Programme, which is part of the United Nations, the Red Cross, the Phillipine Red Cross, AmeriCares, World Vision, ShelterBox, UNICEF and the Salvation Army.