The emotional response that drives people to donate can often times cloud good judgement and leave people vulnerable. The Better Business Bureau has issued tips to help donors make smart giving decisions and avoid scams. There are some common scams to look out for but, as technology evolves so do the techniques con-artists use.
"Really know who you're dealing with and research the charitable organization. And please know, that some charities will raise money on behalf of other disaster relief organizations," said Monica Horton, President of the B.B.B. of North Central Texas.
She said, do not respond to unsolicited emails or click on unknown links to donate, they may contain malware or be fishing emails. This tactic is commonly used by con-artists.
"Be cautious of online giving. It's going to be really popular right now to receive a Facebook post from a friend or get an unsolicited email or phone call," said Horton.
There are questions that need to be asked when donating such as, how the items going to be transported and what percentage of the money will go to the victims?
"Leave it to the Wise Giving Alliance and look to the Better Business Bureau for reports. You want to give to the organizations who have relief efforts on the ground. That's the most effective way to give right now," said Horton.
The Wise Giving Alliance reports on over 1,200 charitable organizations nationally, and local B.B.B.'s report on over 10,000 locally and regionally. The charity's are evaluated on 20 different standards for accountability.
"You just want to proceed with caution and make sure that the money is actually going to get to the victims of the disaster," said Horton.
When donating, also look out for imposter's and charity's touting sound alike names. These people will impersonate a particular organization and ask for money on their behalf.
There are people with good intentions, just make sure the donations will be an effective use of money, and be vigilant.