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How to Detect Disaster-Relief Scams

A condominium complex in Rockport, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey struck. Photo: Rick Wilking/Reuters

Note: Specials thanks to Veronica Dagher of the Wall Street Journal with great advice on checking out a charity before giving to a hurricane Harvey disaster relief fund.

Scammers will often strike in the immediate aftermath of a disaster to seize on the charitable outpouring. Would-be donors should do due diligence before giving to charity.

Check out the charity before giving.

Search on websites such as Charity Navigator, GuideStar and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance to find out how long the charity has been in existence and learn about its programs.

Donors can also go to the IRS website to see if a charity is registered. An organization that has been approved by the IRS as a tax-exempt charity won’t have dot-com or dot-biz domain address; it will only have a dot-org domain.

As I have written many, many times, we do our due diligence when vetting an investment in a company, a company's stock, a 401(K) fund, etc. Why don't we do the same before donating to a charity?


How to Detect Disaster-Relief Scams (may need a subscription to the Wall Street Journal

Here is a link to the Article in PDF format: How to Detect Disaster-Relief Scams

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