Organizations Resources

Avoid Charity Scams Blossoming from Typhoon Haiyan

Avoid Charity Scams from Typhoon Haiyan
13 million people have been affected, according to a report by OCHA.
IMG: via Shutterstock

As we saw last year with Superstorm Sandy, in the wake of tragedy we see two sides of the coin: incredibly generous people and unfortunately greedy ones. After Sandy hit last year, millions of dollars were “donated” with good intentions to charities that ended up being scam organizations. All that money, intended for victims who truly needed the support, was instead given to greedy individuals looking to capitalize off of others’ loss and generosity.

This year, the scale of devastation in the Philippines is far worse than what Sandy wrought. The need for aid is even more than it was, and thus far the delivery of said aid has been incredibly difficult. Those looking to support victims of Typhoon Haiyan should be cautious and careful in giving donations to avoid being scammed out of money.

Typhoon Haiyan is said to be the most powerful and destructive storm to ever hit land, and so far more than three thousand have been confirmed dead—with thousands more missing.

Check out Charity Navigator to see which nonprofits are well established and have a good track record for putting donations to good use. Charity Navigator also has a list of 22 organizations that are getting supplies and help to people in the Philippines—and that are safe to donate to. And never donate to groups that fall under these categories:

  1. Lots of promises with vague details on the organization itself
  2. Group is unknown or brand new
  3. A “victim” reaches out to you, and you don’t personally know them
  4. Offers of prizes or sweepstakes for donating
  5. Requests for sending cash rather than a traceable method of payment
  6. Requests for personal or financial information (unless you are positive the group is legitimate)
  7. Facebook groups that stir up emotions and ask for donations. Do research first to make sure the group is established.

Always check out the organization in question’s website as well. With every natural disaster, there are always fake websites that pop up for the sole purpose of scamming do-gooders. These sites are generally thin on content and details, whereas real nonprofit organizations won’t be.

If you are called by a telemarketer, always remember that you don’t have to donate and can terminate the conversation at any point. And if the group turns out to be real, you can always go to their website and donate at a later date.