June 22, 2024

One Can Happen

The Healthy Lovers

Be Mindful of Credit Card Traps When Donating to Haiti Relief Funds

Within hours of hearing the devastating news of a huge earthquake that recently hit Haiti, Americans immediately began to reach deep into their pocketbooks to provide some sort of monetary support for the victims of this natural tragedy. While these charitable contributions are made in an attempt to help provide relief for those effected, it is important to be reminded of the possibility of scammers abusing your compassion and desire to help the Haitian people by setting up fake websites stating they are working directly with relief efforts in Haiti.

A surge in Haitian charity domain names being registered since that fateful day is a key indicator to the amount of caution that should be made by consumers when making donations online or over the phone. Most of these domains names recently purchased contain the words “help” “relief” “aid” “survivors” or “donations” to trick unknowing donors of where their hard earned money is actually going. Directly into the unscrupulous individual’s pocket.

One thing that consumers should do before contributing to any charity is to verify the legitimacy of that organization before giving any sort of financial or personal information over a website form, email or phone. Sticking to well-known charities such as the American Red Cross or World Vision helps to ensure that your donation amount is used for authority campaigns that can be tracked and publicized. The authenticity of a cause can also be verified by Charity Navigator, which bills itself as a guide for intelligent giving.

Also, consumers should also be aware and skeptical of individuals that proactively contact them via email or phone claiming to be officials, directors or surviving victims of a popular cause. It is often easy for anyone to pick up the phone and dial a person to portray a convincing and honest request that promises to benefit those most in need, and unfortunately, this is the most common method that scammers use in obtaining credit card information from uninformed consumers. Your best bet is to ask the caller for the exact website of their charity and do some due diligence before making your donation. This step is easy but often overlooked.

So before you type in those numbers from your best credit cards or give your financial account information over the phone, make sure you are aware of the dangers that exist for consumers and do your homework before donating to ensure your money goes to those most deserving.