Anchorage, Alaska — April 27, 2015 — As the death toll climbs in Nepal following the massive earthquake over the weekend, Better Business Bureau along with consumer advocates are urging Alaskans to be on guard for charity scams targeting donors.
“Anytime there’s a natural disaster, scammers will try to take advantage of people’s generosity,” said Tyler Andrew, CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “When donating to charities, go with ones that are experienced at working with disaster victims.”
Consumer protection officials warn of fake charities that may look and sound legitimate online or even hijack the names of well-known organizations. Scammers will often pose as official charity agents and call potential donors, pressuring them to make a donation over the phone.
BBB sympathizes with the victims and their loved ones of the Nepal earthquake urging donors to give wisely.
- Steer clear of high-pressure demands. Take time to research charities and avoid emotional appeals that don’t explain how the charity will help victims. Contact potential charities directly.
- Use trustworthy charities. Be sure the charity is equipped and has the resources necessary to help with disaster relief. Review whether a charity meets all 20 standards of accountability at Give.org, a website run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
- Avoid cash donations. Write checks or pay by credit card to charities directly. Scammers will try to convince their victims to wire money or use prepaid debit cards to make a donations. Never give personal information or money to a telephone or email solicitor.
- Double-check. Watch for “pop-up” charities with unverifiable background and contact information. Unscrupulous organizations may try to trip up donors by using names that sound similar to reputable charities.
- Block social media pleas. Be wary of requests from fake victims or memorial social media accounts. Remember to verify the organization first before giving a penny.
David Quinlan, Senior Director of Public Relations: 206-676-4119 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Alison Dempsey-Hall, Deputy Communications Director, Office of the Attorney General: 206-442-4482 | email@example.com
Brian Zylstra, Deputy Communications Director, Office of Secretary of State: 360-902-4173 | firstname.lastname@example.org