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Give to people impacted by the earthquake in Japan, not the scammers. Start at

Donating is a great way to help people affected by natural disasters like the earthquake that hit Japan on New Years Day. But you know scammers try to take advantage of people recovering, and those who try to help. So, how can you be sure your money goes where it’s needed?

Scammers often create fake charities that sound and look legit or claim to work with well-known organizations. But here’s how to ensure your donation doesn’t end up in the hands of scammers.

  • Do some research. Before giving money or your information, check online the name of the charity plus words like “review,” “scam,” or “complaint.” And use charity watchdog groups to see what information they have about the organization.
  • Check the fees and timing when donating through an online platform or social media. Will your donation go directly to the charity?
  • Refuse to donate if someone tells you that wiring money, putting money on a gift card, sending cryptocurrency, using a payment app, or giving cash is the only way to give money. That’s how scammers want you to pay.
  • Learn more about giving and how to spot and avoid charity scams at

Requests for donations in multiple languages are common following international disasters. Suspect a charity scam? Tell the FTC at or in Spanish at To file a report in other languages, call 877-382-4357 and press 3 to select your preferred language.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Wiley Williams
January 22, 2024

You are doing the public a great service.