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Give Wisely: Avoiding Charity ScamsNovember 13th, 2013 | by admin admin | in Security Advice | 2
When a disaster like Typhoon Haiyan strikes, our first urge is to help. However, scammers are always ready to take advantage of donors. And even well-meaning, but inexperienced, charities sometimes do more harm than good. How do you ensure your donations will be effective?
1. Give money, not hard goods. Disaster relief is a complex matter, and even experienced aid organizations face distribution challenges. Shipping food, medicine, clothing and other outside supplies directly to disaster-struck areas can clog up existing distribution lines.
2. Give to established charities, such as the UN World Food Programme, UNICEF, World Vision, Doctors Without Borders and the Canadian Red Cross. If you’re uncertain whether a charity is legitimate or cost-effective, you can check its charitable status on the Canada Revenue Agency’s charities web site. The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance also reports on charities and every year, the MoneySense Charity 100 rates Canadian charities on their efficiency and transparency.
3. Beware high-pressure telemarketers or door-to-door canvassers. They may call you about a pledge you don’t recall making, and use a misleading “copycat” name—or falsely claim to represent a legitimate charity.
4. Ask questions, and request answers in writing. Legitimate charities will not mind sending you information on administrative and programming costs. Request a charitable tax number. Call the charity’s head office directly to confirm whether a canvasser is legitimate.
5. Never give out your personal or financial information.
6. Don’t send cash or a wire transfer. You won’t be able to trace a scammer, or have a record for tax purposes.
7. Designate the disaster. Otherwise, your donation may go to a charity’s general fund.
As the holiday season approaches, many charities need your help. Don’t waste your much-needed donations. Give wisely to prevent charity fraud.
CBC News, Typhoon Haiyan: How You Can Help
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, How Canadians Can Help During Major Disasters and Other Emergencies Abroad
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, False Charities
USA Today, 5 Tips to Avoid Typhoon Charity Scams
Note: This blog discusses general safety and security topics. It is not intended to provide comprehensive advice or guidance. In all matters of personal safety and security, we encourage readers to research topics in depth and consult a security professional about specific concerns.
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