Delaware AG Warns of Typhoon Charity ScamsDate Posted: Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Delaware AG Warns of Typhoon Charity Scams
Updated: Nov 14, 2013 8:50 AM EST
Victims line up for food and water in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city, central Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013. (Photo: AP)
WILMINGTON, Del.- Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden is urging the public to be on the lookout for fraudulent charitable solicitation scams related to the devastation caused to the Philippines this past week by Typhoon Haiyan.
“Delawareans are always quick to answer the call for help, and we know from experience that fraudsters will try to take advantage of that generosity by setting up bogus relief organizations that claim to provide aid,” Biden said. “Many legitimate charities, however, are properly soliciting donations to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan and I urge Delawareans to help ensure their money goes to that intended purpose by following a few basic rules.”
To protect themselves against solicitation fraud, Biden recommends the following:
• Make sure a charity is legitimate by visiting the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org, Charity Navigator at www.charitynavigator.org, or the American Institute of Philanthropy at www.charitywatch.org where you can view lists of verified charities. Ensure that the solicitation website and the purported charity match and that the website is secure.
• Hang up on aggressive cold callers and delete unsolicited e-mail. Fraudulent solicitors may sound convincing and will do their best to appeal to your emotions; legitimate charities will inform you of their charitable mission and the ways your donation will be put to good use.
• Ask whether your donation is tax-deductible. You have a right to know how your donated funds are used and you are entitled to ask questions and get answers about the charity that will be receiving your money.
• Avoid clicking on links received via email or online pop-ups and do not provide any personal information to anyone you suspect is attempting to fraudulently solicit you. Providing even your address or zip code may allow fraudsters to take advantage of you.
• Do not give cash donations and do not supply your credit card number or other personal financial information. If you wish to make a donation, you should pay by check and make the payment out to the charity’s full name. Avoid using initials or abbreviations in making out the check and do not make it payable to anyone except the legitimate charity you want the funds to go to.
• Contact the charity directly before making any donations and ask questions about the percentage of your donation that will be put to use on the ground in the Philippines and surrounding areas of devastation.
Anyone who suspects they have been scammed or have received a suspicious solicitation, Biden said, should immediately call the Attorney General’s toll-free Consumer Hotline at 1-800-220-5424 or email the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The types of scams the public should be especially aware of in the wake of Haiyan include:
• Relief organizations that have popped up overnight
• Solicitations for cash-only donations
• Highly emotional solicitations, including high-pressure tactics to compel you to donate.