In Wake Of Sandy, BBB Warns Of Charity Scams

Natural disasters like tornados, hurricanes, floods, fires and earthquakes can bring out the best in people, as strangers reach out to help others in need. Unfortunately, crises also bring out folks who choose to take advantage of the victims.

Even though North Texas is far removed from the treat of Hurricane Sandy the Better Business Bureau is warning donors to check out a charity before donating to the cause. The BBB provides reports on national charities in our Wise Giving Guide and the guide shows which charities meet the BBB's 20 Standards for Charity Accountability, also:

· Beware of claims that 100 percent of donations assist victims. All charities have fund-raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card or text donation will involve, at least, a processing fee.

· Be cautious when giving online to unfamiliar charities. Beware of spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. Many websites and organizations created overnight allegedly to help victims turned out to be scams.

· Find out if the charity has a presence in the affected areas. Make sure the charity's website clearly describes what it can do to address immediate needs.

· Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Check out the ultimate recipients of the donations to ensure that the organizations are equipped to effectively provide aid.

· Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations may not be appropriate unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid.