We have all been following the heart-breaking devastation that is currently unfolding in Nepal. Thousands are dead, many more are unaccounted for, and the survivors are enduring tough times with no food or water and limited shelter. Natural disasters like this touch the hearts of millions around the globe. Feeling the urge to help but not being able to, leaves people with one option that they can do from wherever they happen to be – donate money to a relief charity.
However, where there are natural disasters, scammers follow.
Over the past week there has been a significant stream of emails with devastating photographs of children seemingly looking for their parents in the rubble. “By simply clicking on the link below you can donate $5 to help these children” reads one email. Another follows a similar theme asking to “send food parcels and medicine to the Nepal or just donate $15 and we will purchase the medicine on your behalf”.
As more international aid starts to flow into the region more requests for donations circulate.
However, not all requests for assistance are legitimate and could be the product of scammers taking advantage of people’s good-will.
A new modern twist of the email-scam is that scammers are using crowd funding websites, such as GoFundMe, to seemingly raise money for a Nepal Relief. Scammer set up a “project” , complete with photoshoped images asking for assistance and monetary donations.
While there is no denying that what is happening in Nepal is beyond words, one needs to be very selective in how and what charity to fund so that your money is put to good use and not land up in someone’s personal bank account.
Here are 5 Tips on how to avoid being scammed when donating to victim of Nepal or any other charity cause
Tip 1: Start by heading off to www.give.org. This sites allows you to research the recognised official charities that will not just scam your money.
Tip 2: If you want to deal with a local charity that you know and trust, head over to their website by typing their website address into your Internet Browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari etc.) Don’t click on a link that appears to have come from that organisation – this is easy to fake. If the charity is indeed helping Nepal, then there will be an obvious button or banner placed on the official site to click for more information.
Tip 3: Beware of websites that pop up overnight such as: GiveToNepalVictimsToday dot whatever or NepalDisaster dot something. While some may be legitimate, unless you can research the charity, chances are that it popped up overnight to take advantage of the newsy situation.
Tip 4: A good charity will make it clear what percentage of the money goes to the victims and what percentage is kept to cover administration costs. Beware of charities that boast 100% of the money goes to the victims. While these do exists, most take a cut. Also ask if the charity is a “collection point” to collect funds and pass them onto the actual relief charity. In which case, look at the end-charity and see if you can rather donate to them directly cutting out any commission payments.
Tip 5: Never give out your credit card details or bank account information to an unsolicited phone calls asking for a donation. There is no way to know if it is legitimate or not.