AUSTIN -- Many people are looking for ways to help those affected by Super Storm Sandy along the East Coast, but the Better Business Bureau wants you to be careful.
The BBB said Wednesday that more and more fake sites are raking in money for relief efforts.
When looking for a site to donate to, the BBB says to check with the IRS to make sure the organization is a 501(c)(3). You should also use an organization which has had experience in relief effort donations. You can make a more informed decision by going here.
The BBB has some things for you to avoid:
- Lack of information. Examples include: the percentage of money that actually goes toward the cause; how long the charity has been doing business; and the charity’s full name, address and telephone number. Be wary of solicitors who cannot or will not answer your questions.
- High-pressure sales. Charities are consistently in need of support. If a solicitor pressures you to donate immediately without allowing you time to research the organization, reconsider your donation.
- Insistence on cash donations. Don’t be forced into making a cash donation. You should be able to donate using a credit card or check, and get a receipt for your donation. However, you should never provide your credit card information to an unsolicited caller.
- Prizes. Some callers will insist you won a prize in a contest you never entered, and then solicit a donation. Such calls are almost always a scam.
- Similar names. Many scammers try to add legitimacy by using a name that is very close to a well-known and well-respected charity. Check the name closely and make sure you are giving to the charity for which you actually intend to help.