Immediately following any disaster, the need for funds to help with recovery efforts is great. That creates the perfect environment for scammers looking for your hard-earned money.
The FBI reported after Hurricane Katrina that over 4,000 websites and organizations were set up just to steal money.
A similar scenario is likely after Hurricane Matthew rolls through Florida and up the east coast. It already has fatally impacted Haiti, with hundreds of reported deaths.
Many will look to donate to the cause, however donating to a scam organization can't positively impact any victims. It can also lead to feelings of violation.
In order to avoid that, experts recommend spending time to properly vet an organization to which you plan to donate funds.
The need for donations to help with recovery is a long process, and considering your donation for an extended period of time can lead to a good decision.
A few organizations exist to help vet an organization to which you plan to donate.
The Better Business Bureau:
The BBB is a powerhouse when it comes to denoting which organizations are credible. They can prove whether or not a business was recently set up or is long-running and reputable. Check out more here.
GuideStar is an organization that exists to rate nonprofit organizations based on how well they spend their funds. They aim to tell consumers whether or not their funds are spent in the right way. Check out more here.
Charity Navigator has a host of tips for anybody looking to give after a natural disaster. They aim to help charitable donors pair up with organizations that will use funds well. Check out more here.
Top tips for donors.
1.) Don't send supplies.
Often times in the midst of a natural disaster, there's no way for mail to get to affected areas. It's also hard to pair supplies with those in need.
2.) Don't give to telemarketers or email solicitors.
Telemarketers and email solicitors all too often aren't from organizations that are reputable, and there isn't a way to verify they are from a reputable charity, even if they claim to be.
3.) Don't give when pressured.
If an organization is pressuring you to give, they are not legitimate. No legitimate organization will do more than ask politely for a contribution.