Opportunists prey on natural disasters’ victims and even those who want to help. They would not miss any single chance that they could profit something from any kind of people by taking advantage of their weaknesses. Victims are at their most desperate state and scammers see this as an opportunity to deceive them.
“After practically every disaster, in the United States or abroad, charity scams pop up,” says John Breyault, vice president of the National Consumers League. “We saw charity scams pop up after Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti and the Indonesian tsunami, to name just a few.”
These frauds come in various shapes and sizes as well as the scammers. They would take advantage the helplessness of the victims, they will show up and their front door, offer help and after they collected the payment in advance they would not show-up afterwards or worse make a bigger damage on the victim’s properties.
Beware of email scams, through email fraud they can easily target victims during in time of need. Although natural disaster’s victims are not their target rather potential donors after the disaster are being preyed.
Following a number of cases against email frauds after a disaster, the U.S. Department of Justice established the National Center for Disaster Fraud. Email and social medias are often also being used, urging you to click on a photo and then would ask for many things after that will lead you to send out money. The department insisted not to click on links instead independently seek information about charities you are interested in helping. Better yet, go directly to well known charities or charities that you already know.
Request of money donations are automatically considered as illegitimate, no record will be provided if the said organization did received the money and on your part you will not have a record for tax purposes. It is not advisable to make donations.
It will be hard to be rational during a time of calamity but take time to think about things because more often than not being impulsive will worsen things. Number one rule that you must remember is never send out or give money until the work is done or the product is at hand. Government is sure to help you, better wait for their action before making decisions on your own.
If you would like to help out, go to reputable charities and send out help yourselves. Help also comes in different shapes and sizes, as much as possible avoid sending out money to help.
You must keep in mind that although there are good people out there, scammers are also not far. It is a matter of being rational and intelligent more especially in worse times. Double check everything first, it is better sure than sorry.