Unfortunately, in the three years that I have been writing Scamicide.com there has been no shortage of disasters both natural and man-made that have touched the hearts of people around the world seeking to help.  Mankind indeed can be quite kind and giving when our fellow man is in need and the generosity of people here in the United States and around the world is a wonderful thing.  However, scammers are always present at times like this, eager to take your charitable impulse and turn it into an opportunity to steal money you intend to help those in need.

The recent earthquake in Nepal, which has killed more than 3,000 people and affected many more is one of those events that has drawn many people who want to help by making a donation to a charity that can provide needed assistance to the affected people of Nepal.  However, there are many scammers who are setting up phony charities or using the names of legitimate charities to steal charitable donations that should be going to help our fellow man.

TIPS

Be very wary of telemarketers seeking charitable contributions.   Whenever you receive a telephone call that purports to be from a charity, you can never be sure that the caller is legitimate.  In addition, even if the caller is a legitimate solicitor on behalf of a charity, they work on commission and some of what you donate will be going to the telemarketer.  If a telemarketer arouses your interest in a particular charity, ask the telemarketer to send you written information that you can review before making a contribution directly to the charity that you know will go entirely to the charity.

As for email and text message solicitations from charities, be particularly careful because not only can you not be sure if they are legitimate or not, they may be even worse than that.  The email or text message may contain a link or attachment that has malware that can steal the information from your computer or smartphone and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.

Charitynavigator.org is a great resource.  It is a free website at which you can look up any charity to which you may be considering making a donation.  Not only will Charitynavigator.org tell you whether or not the charity is a scam or not, it also will tell you how much of the money given to the charity goes toward its charitable works and how much it pays in salary and administrative costs.

Some of the well established and highly rated charities presently working on the Nepal relief effort include AmeriCares, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Direct Relief, GlobalGiving, Save the Children and the Seva Foundation.  You can get more information about these charities at Charitynavigator.org as well as find links to the charities themselves where you can make a donation.