Disasters bring out the best in Americans,” said Benny Alvarez of Top 10 Jungle. “Unfortunately, it also brings out the scammers that look to take advantage of people, no matter how terrible the human suffering. You need to do your research and make sure your donations do some good and actually help victims.”
You Don’t Need A Middle Man
You don’t need someone between yourself and the your charity. There are plenty of con men walking around just waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of your kind heart. Sometimes you just met them and sometimes they are old friends. Give your donation directly and thank them for their generous offer of assistance.
Don’t Fall For The Cash Mousetrap
Legitimate charities rarely ask for cash. You are best off giving by credit card. You always have the option to dispute the charge later if it you were taken for a ride. If you are going to donate online, make sure the site is secured. There should be an “https” before the url.
Watch Out For The Good Neighbor
We all have neighbors that seem like nice people but we usually don’t know them very well. It’s usually an elderly man or woman that walks around with a medical alert device. I may be exaggerating but I am trying to make a point. You won’t suspect them. That’s how they walk away with your money. Be suspicious of everyone asking you to help out victims of the hurricanes.
Stay Away From Financial Advisors
Some financial advisors use charity as a way to break the ice and build a relationship. They typically sell life insurance, estate planning tools or some kind of debt relief product. They may use the hurricane as a way to show you that their character is beyond reproach and you could trust them with your hard earned money. Be Careful.
Don’t Open Charity Emails
If you don’t recognize the email address of the sender, don’t open any unsolicited emails asking for charity. It’s usually a scam or can even contain malware that will infect your computer with a computer virus.
Beware of Social Media
Now isn’t the time to become a social media master of the universe. Look out for anyone asking for donations over social media, especially if you don’t recognize them. And be very careful what you share with others. You may avoid the scam personally but you don’t want to be the cause of others falling for it.
Look Out For The Copy-Cat Names
Be wary of organizations with copy-cat names similar to well known charitable organizations. You can verify a charity’s exemption status with the Internal Revenue Service. Make sure to check the address and telephone number. Do your due dilligence.
Our prayers are with those who suffered in Hurricane Harvey. We will be closely monitoring Hurricane Irma as it makes its way towards the United States. On behalf of all of us at Top 10 Jungle, please stay safe!