Hurricane Fiona hit the southern part of Puerto Rico hard leaving the island in the dark, flooded, and without running water. And once again, islanders are coping and cleaning up. As with any severe weather disaster, you may be considering a charitable donation to help the people and communities in Puerto Rico that were affected. A bit of research and planning before you donate will ensure that your money goes to organizations that are helping Puerto Rico recover from this disaster and not scammers.
Here’s advice on donating wisely and avoiding charity scams:
- Donate to charities you know and trust with a proven track record with dealing with disasters.
- If you get a request to donate on social media, research the organization yourself before you give. Don’t assume that charity messages posted on social media are legitimate. Check out the charity on the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or Candid. If the message was from a friend, ask them if they know the organization themselves.
- Be cautious about giving to individuals on crowdfunding sites. If considering crowdfunding, it’s safest to give to someone you personally know and trust, and to review the platform’s policies and procedures. Keep in mind that while some crowdfunding sites take measures to vet postings for help after a disaster, others don’t.
- If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, by wiring money or cryptocurrency, don’t do it. Pay by credit card, which offers more protections.
- When texting to donate, confirm the number with the source before you donate. The charge will show up on your mobile phone bill, but donations are not immediate.
You can find this information and more at ftc.gov/charity. Looking for information to help prepare for, deal with, and recover from a natural disaster or severe weather event? Visit ftc.gov/weatheremergencies.
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