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Don't Fall For Charity Scams

In the wake of the recent earthquake in Haiti, Harrisburg residents are reminded that not all charity organizations are legitimate. Sadly when a disaster strikes, either natural or man made, scammers come out in force to take advantage of compassionate people. The FBI has issued a warning to those who are thinking about donating money for relief efforts. In a press release issued earlier this week the FBI recommends proceeding with caution before making a donation.

When a disaster of this magnitude strikes the people directly affected need immediate help. If you want to add to the relief effort you are encouraged to do so after you have verified the authenticity of the organization to which you are donating your money. In these tough economic times when millions of consumers are struggling financially it becomes all the more important to ensure your donation actually provides help to the victims of this tragedy. Here are a few tips to ensure your hard earned cash doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

  • Verify organization status- When in doubt research any company or organization that is accepting donations for the relief effort.
  • Be wary of unsolicited requests- People wanting to donate don't have to look far to find a legitimate organization. If you receive unsolicited requests either in person, over the telephone or via email be wary of the source. Email scams can be especially dangerous as many criminals use this method to spread a virus which can wreak havoc on your computer. They often use this strategy to obtain personal information which can be used for credit card fraud or identity theft. The results of either can be far more damaging than the loss of a one time donation.
  • Donate locally- Most charity organizations do their part to contribute to larger relief efforts. This increases the demand for donations on a local level. By donating locally you can help those in your community and free up valuable resources which can be forwarded for larger relief efforts.

Donating to a charity is a great use of your hard earned cash. When disaster strikes it often takes the help of citizens around the globe to begin the long road to recovery. If you are in a position to donate, take the necessary steps to ensure your money is going to those in need, versus those in greed.


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