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.