Better Business Bureau warns of scams after Nepal Earthquake

Written by Theresa Rose on April 28, 2015

April 27, 2015 (Des Moines, IA) — If you want to help victims of the devastating earthquake in Nepal this past weekend, the Better Business Bureau has a warning: be cautious. As with every natural disaster, there are unscrupulous people who will attempt to take advantage of your generosity.

“When these disasters occur many people want to do something in support of the recovery efforts, often making donations to various aid groups. Unfortunately, scammers will also try to take advantage of generous donors.” Chris Coleman, President of the Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Iowa, Quad Cities, and the Siouxland.

Remember these words of advice:

Check the charity out: Before making your donation, go to bbb.org to obtain detailed reports on relief organizations and charities.

Look for experience: Give to charities that are experienced in disaster relief. While other charities may solicit donations for earthquake relief, these organizations may not have the ability to quickly deliver aid to those in need.

Avoid the name game: Watch out for fake charities that imitate the name of well-known organizations in order to confuse donors.

Give to tax-exempt charities: To ensure your contribution is tax deductible, donations should be made to charitable organizations that are tax exempt, 501(c)(3) charities.

Watch out for heart string stories: Beware of emotional appeals that do not address how the charity will meet the needs of victims and their families.

Never send by wire transfer: Avoid any requests for cash donations or to send money via wire transfer. Checks or money orders should be made out to the name of the charitable organization, not to the individual collecting the donation.

Protect your personal information: Do not give your credit card number or other personal information to a telephone solicitor or in response to an e-mail solicitation.