BBB warns to watch for scams when donating to Hawaii wildfire relief funds

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Monday, August 14, 2023
BBB warns to watch for scams when donating for Hawaii wildfire relief
Researching the institution that you're donating to is a great way to avoid being scammed, the BBB says.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The BBB of Eastern Carolinas is issuing warnings for people making donations following the historic wildfires in Hawaii.

"Unfortunately, but any sort of tragedy that you see throughout the year, there's always going to be scammers following in the wake of that to take advantage of people," explained Meredith Radford with The Better Business Bureau serving Eastern Carolinas.

Radford says there are a few tips you can follow to make sure your generosity doesn't make you a victim.

"They'll try to do what they always do, which is, either take your money or your information, or both," Radford explained.

One of the top things Radford says you can do is to research the charity.

"Researching the institution that you're donating to is a great way to avoid this," she added. "One place you can do that is, That's the BBB site to look up charitable organizations. So you can research charities of all different kinds and see what they're all about, what, how long they've been around, like, what kind of work they do that sort of thing. It's a great way to know that you're donating to a place that is established and that has a good track record."

Radford says another step is to check and see if an organization is registered with the state.

"In about 40 of 50 U.S. states, you have to register as an organization to collect funds as a charity. And, you can usually search that on places like the attorney general's office website.

How to help Maui fire victims from afar: Organizations and efforts underway

If there's an organization that's claiming to be a charity that isn't registered with that government agency, that's a big red flag," Radford added.

The BBB says donating money rather than goods is the quickest way to help and making sure your money is going to a legitimate organization is key.

For more wise-giving tips click on BBB.


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