When natural disasters strike, we often want to help by making a donation. But it is important to beware of opportunists who may create fake charities and scams. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Before making a donation, be sure to carefully research any charity you’re considering. Find out if they are established: they should be able to explain the expenses related to their operations; and they should be able to clearly explain what percentage of your donation will go directly to victims and services. If a charity is hesitant to provide these details, move on.
- Be careful of newly formed charities and crowd-funding pages. They are not necessarily scams, but you want to be thorough with your research as they may not be as well-established.
- Consult organizations that can help you avoid scams. Charity Navigator is a website that evaluates worthy charities. The Federal Trade Commission’s site also has guidance on how to give. The key is to do your homework first.
It’s wonderful to be charitable and generous, but you also want to be careful as well.
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