Japanese Disaster Relief: AG Warns Against Fake Charities
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued a warning today to anyone thinking of donating to Japanese earthquake relief: Be careful who you're giving to.
"By doing a little research, well-meaning Texans can ensure their dollars actually help the recovery effort and aid victims -- rather than funding fraudulent scams set up to capitalize on a tragedy," the AG's office said.
One tip: "Watch for questionable charities using names that closely resemble the names of well-known charities." So don't go giving to the Redd Cross, people.
There are always charity scams in the wake of big disasters, so the AG's advice is definitely worth a look:
Ask for credentials, including the soliciting entity's exact name and telephone number, particularly if the purported relief organization is not well known. • Call the charity directly and confirm that the solicitor is actually working for that organization. • Find out how the donation will be used. • Be wary of appeals that are long on emotion and short on descriptions about how charitable contributions will aid the recovery effort. • Don't succumb to high-pressure tactics and demands for an immediate decision. A legitimate charity welcomes background checks on their operations. • Never give a credit card or bank account number to an unknown solicitor. • Never give cash and never agree to give money to a courier. Write a check to the charity directly -- not the soliciting individual -- and get a receipt.
Abbott suggests making sure the soliciting group scores well on the American Institute of Philanthropy's charity rating scale.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.