We hate to sound like we’re beating the same drum over and over again, but Hurricane Sandy has provided some stark lessons in safety that we feel anyone would be wise to take to heart whenever disaster strikes in their area. In this instance, Consumer Reports is warning about the potential danger posed when charity-minded people fall prey to those unscrupulous enough to commit fraud following a disaster.
If you’re getting out your checkbook to provide some kind of financial assistance to the victims of the hurricane, then we commend you. But you need to make sure your donations are getting to the right place. The Better Business Bureau’s website actually offers a list of charities that are on the level, so consider consulting it if the charity you’re giving to is something you’re unfamiliar with. Charities that suddenly open their doors in the wake of a storm may have good intentions, but if you can’t verify their authenticity, you might be about to make a huge mistake.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially if the potential “charity” contacted you instead of vice versa. And don’t provide important financial information to someone whom you don’t know.
Sadly, scammers will likely be out in force preying on the good intentions of others, and you need to be able to trust the person on the other line, otherwise you could be a victim.