Charity scams may surface after Philippines typhoon

By: Alicia Gentile Email
By: Alicia Gentile Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Days after the devastating typhoon slammed into the Philippines, many people are hoping to help victims, but it's important to beware of potential scammers that may be posing as charitable causes.

After Typhoon Hiyan, at least 10,000 people are feared dead and more than 300,000 are considered homeless.

Many people are trying to help by giving to charitable causes, but before you do so, you may want to look at where your money is going.

Major disasters have the tendency to bring scammers out of the woodwork. As criminals get smarter, they change their tactics and some may be turning to social media to take advantage of people.

Delta resident, Dan Korthuis, is concerened about scammers and where his charitable donations may be going.

"Scammers ruin it for everybody, I mean you don't feel good about donating to different things because you don't know where it is going," said Korthuis.

Officials at Networks Unlimited, a full service IT and tech company says there are three ways scammers target victims.

"E-mail scamming, telemarketing scamming and now with the rise of social media we see social media scams as well," said Lauren Bell of Networks Unlimited.

Bell says it is very easy to set up a Facebook page and pose as a charitable cause.

"A few clicks to set up a Facebook page and so scammers are going to jump on this," said Bell.

Social Media also makes our personal information more accessible and scammers may use your information to trick you into believing they're legitimate.

"Scammers are people too so they know how to pull on our heart strings," said Bell.

Experts say before you give to any charitable organizations, you want to make sure you know where the money is going.

The Better Business Bureau has a search engine that will help you verify a charity in question.

The Federal Trade Commission says there are a couple signs of a charity scam, such as refusing to provide detailed information about its identity, mission, costs, and how the donation will be used. And another indication is if they refuse to provide proof that a contribution is tax deductible.

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