We all see the pictures on TV of the disaster in the Philippines, and of course we all want to help. Just remember that disasters bring out the worst in some people, and they’re out there trying to scam you now. Here are some helpful tips to make sure that your money goes where you mean it to.
Donate to recognized charities. It is common for scam artists to create charity names or websites that sound similar to the ones you know. They also may send you an email to try to direct you to a website that looks like a real charity. I always look up the website for a charity I want to donate to and type the address in myself, rather than clicking on links in emails. An excellent and reputable site to find legitimate charities is www.charitynavigator.org.
Don’t give out your personal information to anyone. A real charity will not call you up and then request bank account information. My personal rule of thumb, even if it’s a charity I know and like, is to tell them I don’t ever give money over the phone. A legitimate charity will be willing to send you a request in the mail.
Don’t give or send cash. Checks or credit cards are more secure and provide a record for you.
If you plan to claim a charitable contribution for your donation, remember to get and keep a receipt for your donation. It’s not too early to get a big envelope and start collecting all your tax paperwork in one place!