Editor's Note: This story was originally published in September 2018 after Hurricane Florence. It has since been updated in light of Hurricane Dorian's anticipated landfall in Florida. The video above is from 2018.
There are some important tips you should know before you donate to any charity that claims it will help people likely to be affected by Hurricane Dorian.
The Federal Trade Commission says many scammers use natural disasters to take advantage of generous donors. Sometimes scammers will even set up fake charities to make a quick buck.
In order to figure out what is fake and what is real, the FTC said donors should always ask for detailed information about the charity, like its name, address and telephone number.
Government officials say donors should also be wary of charities that may be created within days of a disaster.
Here are some more signs, from the FTC, of how to spot a charity scam:
- Refuses to provide detailed information about its identity, mission, costs, and how the donation will be used.
- Won't provide proof that a contribution is tax-deductible.
- Uses a name that closely resembles that of a better-known, reputable organization.
- Thanks you for a pledge you don't remember making.
- Uses high-pressure tactics like trying to get you to donate immediately, without giving you time to think about it and do your research.
- Asks for donations in cash or asks you to wire money.
- Offers to send a courier or overnight delivery service to collect the donation immediately.
- Guarantees sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution. By law, you never have to give a donation to be eligible to win a sweepstakes.
One of the best tools to use to make sure your donation actually goes to where it is needed is to use the website "charitynavigator.org".
It is backed by both the FTC and reputable charities.
Users can just type the name of the charity they want to learn more about in the website's search bar. Charity Navigator will then provide information as to how trustworthy the charity may be.
If you do find it in your heart to give, you should know some donations are simply better than others.
The Red Cross says a financial contribution is typically better than food or clothing.
"If we're giving financial assistance, we give folks a voucher to go make a purchase for the type of clothing they want, to buy what they want," said Paul Carden, the regional disaster officer of the American Red Cross National Capital Region.
What other people are reading right now:
- Hurricane Dorian could be powerful Category 4 storm by the time it nears Florida
- Live blog: Hurricane Dorian to become major hurricane over next few days
- Hurricane Headquarters: Track the tropics, find your evacuation zone
- Gov. Ron DeSantis declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Dorian
- Where to get sandbags to prepare for Hurricane Dorian
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