As local and national newscasts show the devastation of property and lives in the Philippines on a grand scale following Typhoon Haiyan, many in Acadiana are looking to help those in need with donations through charities.
Better Business Bureau of Acadiana is alerting donors to be vigilant, as fraudulent charities often crop up to take advantage of sympathy for victims of this major disaster.
Whenever there is a major natural disaster, the generosity of Acadiana always shines through to donate time and money to help victims, but there is seemingly always the appearance of poorly run and, in some cases, fraudulent charities.
The best way to help is to donate money to a reputable humanitarian organization, like the American Red Cross, a BBB Charity Seal holder. The American Red Cross has along history of responding to local, national and international disasters.
BBB offers the following tips to help Americans decide where to direct donations:
· Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations assist victims. All charities have fund-raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee.
· Be cautious when giving online to unfamiliar charities. After the tsunami disaster in 2004 and the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, many websites and organizations that were created overnight allegedly to help victims turned out to be scams.
· Find out if the charity has a presence in the impacted areas. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to get new aid workers into the area to provide assistance. Check the charity’s website, which should clearly describe what the charity can do to address immediate needs.
· Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. You may want to avoid the middleman and give directly to charities that have a presence in the region.
Better Business Bureau works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.For more than 100 years, BBB has helped consumers make smarter buying decisions and is evolving to meet fast-changing marketplace needs.
BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St.Landry and Vermilion.
Acadiana residents can now have BBB information in the palm of their hand with the official BBB Search app, a convenient,mobile BBB solution available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app can be found at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014505?mt=8.
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