When disaster happens, we all want to do something positive to help others. However, for others, it is a time to deceive you into giving them your hard earned money.
Here are a few easy steps to avoid Charity Scams:
Use a trusted organization. If you don't recognize the name, move on to one you know.
Use the official charity website. If you google the charity name, look at the website address to make sure it is legit.
When you arrive at the site donation page, check the top of the website address and ensure the page is secure. Find the lock, right click on it, and view the security certificate details. If you see a name or something that doesn't sound like the charity, move on.
Avoid giving cash to someone in person (anywhere). You will never know where that money ends up.
Ask questions. Make sure you are donating to a trusted organization and ask what percentage of the donation goes to the the intended purpose, and what goes to cover overhead, salaries, marketing, et cetera.
As always: Never pay by gift card, wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or download an app to facilitate the donation.
If you want to verify the legitimacy of a charitable group before making a donation, call the Ohio Attorney General's Help Center at 800-282-0515.
It is your money and you worked hard for it. Make sure it goes where you intended so it can have the intended affect.
When it comes to donations, cash is the most effective way to make an immediate difference. For some, it doesn't have that tangible feel of physically contributing something that gets loaded onto a truck and transported in our minds to a family in need for the very item we donated. In the end, you'll likely never know if the item you donated made it to a person, or if like many physical items send with good intent, end up in a landfill. It is the cold hard truth.
Stay safe, help others where and when you can, and be smart about it.