Natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires are common occurrences and the first major hurricane of the season, Hurricane Fiona has already wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic . Partially due to global warming, last year the United States experienced 22 major natural disasters that cost more than a billion dollars each. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes and earthquakes bring out the best in people who want to donate to charities to help the victims. Unfortunately natural disasters also bring 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 these natural disasters, 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 signed up for the federal Do Not Call List, legitimate charities are able to contact you by phone. The problem is that whenever you are get a phone call, you can never be sure as to who is really calling you so you may be contacted either by a fake charity or a scammer posing as a legitimate charity. Using a technique called spoofing, the scammers can manipulate your Caller ID to make it appear that the call is coming from a legitimate charity when it is not. 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.
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 http://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 legitimate charity collects actually goes toward its charitable purposes and how much it uses for fund raising and administrative costs. Charitynavigator.org has a list of specific highly-rated charities that they recommend if you wish to assist people harmed by the Hurricane Fiona. These charities include center for Disaster Philanthropy and Global Giving. For a full list and descriptions of these charities use this link. https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=9966
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