(Los Angeles, CA) – Scambook, the leading online complaint resolution platform, is warning against fake charities that are asking for donations to help Superstorm Sandy victims.
“Natural disasters are unfortunately out of our control. However, something that we can control is how we help the victims of those disasters. This could mean donating money, food, clothes or other essential supplies that will help provide relief to disaster victims,” said Kase Chong, Scambook’s Director of Marketing. “Based on our research, we have compiled some tips to help you feel more confident when you make donations. These tips will help you make sure that your money, time and effort are going to real organizations.”
Tip #1: Make Sure You Are Donating To A Legitimate Charity Or Relief Organization
Contact your state’s Attorney General’s Office or the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) to check whether or not a charity is officially registered. This will give you a better idea if your money or supplies are going to the right place. Websites like guidestar.org and charitynavigator.org are also great resources you can use to research legitimate charities.
Tip #2: Don’t Believe Emails From Supposed Victims
Emails are one of the primary tools that fraudsters use to fool unsuspecting people. Their tactics don’t change for disasters such as Superstorm Sandy. Be extremely careful with any emails you receive or videos you see online from someone claiming to be a victim. Never send personal or financial information, or wire money, to someone who has emailed you out of the blue.
Tip #3: Don’t Give In To Pressure To Donate
A legitimate charity will not pressure or rush you to donate immediately. If you feel uncomfortable, it’s okay to say “no.” Also, you should never provide any personal information, such as your social security number or banking information, over the phone. Real charities will gladly accept donations by check.
Tip #4: Be Careful And Do Your Research
If you’ve never heard of a charity, you should do as much research as you can to learn more about the organization. It’s even okay to ask the charity how much of your donation will actually go towards providing relief for victims.
Tip #5: Keep An Eye Out For Unusual Charges On Your Phone Bill
Sending a donation through a text message is actually a common form of payment used by real charities, so you can expect to see the amount charged to your phone bill. However, if you see additional unexpected charges, you may be a victim of fraud and should contact your phone service provider immediately.
Tip #6: Don’t Believe Them If You Don’t Remember Donating
Fraudsters will often try to trick you by contacting you and thanking you for your past donation, hoping that you will trust their solicitation more. If you don’t remember ever pledging money to their organization, this is a big warning sign to hang up or not respond.
Tip #7: Don’t Let Imposters Fool You
Fake charities commonly use logos or names similar to more widely known and established charity organizations. If anyone claims to be associated with a more well-known charity and tries to get you to donate, be sure to call the official organization for confirmation.
Tip #8: Don’t Give Your Money To Pick Up Services Or Use Cash
If a supposed charity says they will accept your payment by sending a courier or pick up service, this is a sign of fraud and you should not donate. In addition, if they say they will take cash donations, this is also a red flag.
Scambook Wants To Help
Scambook is deeply saddened and concerned for all the victims of Superstorm Sandy. The Los Angeles-based company has pledged to match up to $10,000 in donations from any Scambook user who wants to help.
Scambook is joining the Sandy relief effort and working with the New Jersey Board of Education to find a devastated elementary school in need of help. Any user who receives a refund through Scambook’s complaint resolution platform will have the option to donate that refund to Scambook’s Sandy relief efforts. 100% of proceeds will go to New Jersey schools.
Scambook has set aside $10,000 and will match user donations dollar for dollar up to that amount. Scambook never takes a percentage of your refund and 100% of your donation will go to New Jersey students in need.
Scambook is an online complaint resolution platform dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of fraud with unprecedented speed and accuracy. By building communities and providing resources on the latest scams, Scambook arms consumers with the up-to-date information they need to stay on top of emerging schemes. Since its inception, Scambook has resolved over $3 million in reported consumer damages. For more information, visit scambook.com.