Scams

Beware of Typhoon Disaster-Relief Scams

Take these steps to make sure your donations to help victims in the Philippines go to reputable organizations.

If you're considering donating to relief efforts for victims of the Philippines typhoon disaster, watch out for con artists trying to prey on your generosity. The Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau are warning consumers to beware of scams related to Typhoon Haiyan and to make sure their donations are going to reputable organizations.

Here are tips to help you recognize scams and to make sure your money goes toward legitimate causes:

-- Give to an established charity. The FTC warns against giving to charities that have sprung up just to deal with the recent typhoon. Instead, look for charities with a track record of dealing with this sort of disaster or working in the Philippines. You can find a list of charities providing relief in the Philippines and links to their sites on CharityNavigator.org.

-- Don't click on links to charities in texts or e-mails because they may take you to fraudulent sites or download malware onto your computer. Although legitimate charities can receive donations by text message, they usually do not send out unsolicited requests by text message or e-mail, according to Scambook, a complaint resolution site.

-- Beware bogus charity sites. Criminals often set up Web sites using legitimate charities' names in an attempt to steal money or personal information from donors, according to Charity Navigator. You can find links to charities' authorized sites on CharityNavigator.org.

-- Watch out for social media appeals. Don't assume charity recommendations on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites have been vetted, the BBB warns. Do your own research before giving to make sure a charity is legitimate and will use funds wisely. About 40 of the 50 states require charities to register with a state government agency -- usually the state attorney general's office. Or you can check out a charity at BBB.org.

-- Be wary of appeals that are long on emotion and vague on details because a legitimate charity will tell you how funds will be used to address the tragedies.

-- Don't give cash. The FTC recommends that you pay by check (made out to the charity, not the person raising funds) or by credit card for security and tax-record purposes.

-- Ask for a receipt showing the amount of your donation and stating that it is tax-deductible.

Most Popular

Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer
Coronavirus and Your Money

Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer

The IRS has an online tool that lets you track the status of your second stimulus check.
January 18, 2021
When Could We Get a Third Stimulus Check?
Coronavirus and Your Money

When Could We Get a Third Stimulus Check?

President Biden and others in Congress are pushing for a third-round of stimulus checks, but it might be a while before we get them.
January 20, 2021
Don’t Have a Pension? The SECURE Act Could Help
retirement planning

Don’t Have a Pension? The SECURE Act Could Help

If you’re worried about retirement, the SECURE Act has a lot to offer. It has several provisions to allow people to save more, for more years — and it…
January 22, 2021

Recommended

A Golf Course Community’s Big Variable for Retirees
Smart Buying

A Golf Course Community’s Big Variable for Retirees

Golf club memberships can often be a separate, and hefty, annual fee at golf communities. Here's some guidance before you tee up your retirement move …
December 14, 2020
Don’t Buy This: Top 20 List of Things That Aren't Worth the Money
spending

Don’t Buy This: Top 20 List of Things That Aren't Worth the Money

Buyer’s remorse is real, and if you purchase any of these 20 items, chances are you’ll get to experience it firsthand.
December 9, 2020
Retirees, Get Ready for Virtual Video Visits for the Holidays
Smart Buying

Retirees, Get Ready for Virtual Video Visits for the Holidays

Tap into virtual video software, age-friendly gadgets, video apps and accessories to make seasonal gatherings safe.
December 4, 2020
2020 Tech Gift Guide: The 10 Best Values + The 10 Best, Period
Smart Buying

2020 Tech Gift Guide: The 10 Best Values + The 10 Best, Period

From laptops to loudspeakers to, yes, shoes. Check out the latest gee-whiz gadgets to make an impression during gift-giving season.
November 29, 2020