Donate Carefully for Nepal Disaster Relief: Avoid Charities Fraud
“The widespread devastation and human tragedy in Nepal move us to act promptly to help,” Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris said today. “But unfortunately, scam artists are adept at using high profile disasters and technology to swindle well-meaning donors. We urge everyone to be cautious and get information on the charity before giving.”
- Donate to well-known, established charities; it is the best way to ensure that your donation is used appropriately. Establishing an effective, efficient new charity following a crisis is nearly impossible. Find a charity with a proven track record in providing disaster relief on a massive scale. One source of good information about any charity that you are considering is the website, charitynavigator.org.
- When giving to an organization, specify that your donation is for the Nepal crisis.
- Beware of solicitations on social media from unknown charities. As with any charity, investigate the groups behind such pleas to ensure that they come from a legitimate organization.
- Delete unsolicited e-mails claiming to support relief efforts and don’t open attachments. The attachments may be viruses designed to steal personal financial information from your computer.
- Likewise, do not respond to phone calls supposedly on behalf of Nepal victims. Unless you personally know someone in Nepal, anyone contacting you in this way is most likely part of a scam.
- Do not send supplies unless a charity specifically requests them. Otherwise, there may be no system to receive, organize and distribute your donation. Furthermore, charities tend to partner with companies to acquire large amounts of in-kind donations such as bottled water and new clothing.
- Beware of copycat organizations. Scammers will set up bogus websites to steal the identities and donations of generous, unsuspecting individuals. When giving online, be sure to find the charity’s legitimate website. You can access links to each bona fide charity’s sites from the Charity Navigator site (charitynavigator.org).
“The outpouring of concern and support for those affected by this tragedy is enormous, but unfortunately, so is the potential for fraud,” Harris said. “Responding to bogus solicitations may not only waste your donation, but could land you on a “sucker list,” leading to even more attempts by scammers to trick you out of money or information. Please report suspicious solicitations to your local police and to the Department of Consumer Protection at 1-800-842-2649.”