With the tragedy in Haiti recently, opportunities arise for the best to come out in people by giving their hard earned dollars to a worthy cause such as Haiti relief. Unfortunately tragedies and catastrophes like Haiti's current situation can give rise to golden opportunities for scammers and Flim-Flammers alike to make money off of a willing and generous public. There are plenty of Scam Sites already out there trying to do this masking themselves as helping Haiti but really just helping themselves to your generous donations.
Anyone can create a website to accept donations and then simply not spend a dime of the money they receive on Haiti. They could pocket the money themselves, buy a new car, or anything they want. Is it completely dishonest and dishonorable? Yes. Does that mean people will not do it to make a buck? Absolutely not.
You need to make sure if you are donating money that it goes to a legitimate place. During Hurricane Katrina, many websites sprung up and many scams were launched. These defrauded people who wanted to help by making donations and the money just vanishing for the websites closing up shop quickly thereafter. This not only deprived the true victims of the Hurricane but also of the people trying to help them.
A good way to make sure your donation goes to the right place is do some research on the company or website. Do they look legitimate? Do they look like a fly by night type? Are there spelling mistakes on the website? (Believe or not this is true of many foreign scams. Spelling does not seem to be a specialty)
When you make a donation you should be sure that it is a legitimate organization. Even a legitimate organization may not donate all of the proceeds as they do have other expenses. The legitimate ones will usually be very open, upfront, and transparent on how their money works and what it goes too. Use the list below to make the right choice and ensure that your charitable contribution does make a difference.
www.clintonbushhaitifund.org. is a perfect example of a legitimate site that meets all the criteria for making a donation and knowing your money won't be wasted or misspent. This is the official site for former President's Bush and Clinton Haiti Relief Fund. They are transparent and legitimate. This was set up by the President and U.S. government. See the link to this Fox News also listing some other legitimate and safe sites or ways to make donations. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,582902,00.html
Websites can be put up in a matter of hours and appear completely legitimate so do your research before you donate your money to a scam. Texting scams are very common. With texting you never know what else you could be signing up for. Scams come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Be it via Text messaging, Email Scams, Websites, Facebook, or any other means. Where there is a way to take advantage and trick people through their own generosity, you can be sure there are plenty of slime and scum who will take advantage of it. Be careful where you donate and make sure your money goes to the right place and people.
Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week. Our best thoughts and wishes go out to those in Haiti who are suffering, hurting and to those who are doing all the good work trying to rebuild it.