Consumer Alert: During Wildfires, Give Wisely

May 16, 2014

During the county’s current state of emergency, many of us San Diegans are coming together to help those in need.  Unfortunately during times like these, there are scammers that take advantage of not only those doing good, but also those that need the help the most.

While the wildfires continue across our city, there is no doubt that help, whether monetary and otherwise, is greatly needed.  BBB appreciates your empathy and encourages you to give, but implores you to give wisely.Take your time if you’re approached to donate time, money or goods to ask the necessary questions.  Don’t give until you’re satisfied with the answers; charities with nothing to hide will encourage your interest.  Be wary of any reluctance or hesitation to answer your questions.  A few other tips in regards to charitable giving include:

  • Ask for the charities full name and address.  They should also be able to provide you with identification, whitepapers and pamphlets on their organization and cause
  • Ask if your donation is tax deductible; contributions to tax-exempt organizations are not always tax deductible
  • Don’t succumb to pressure to give money on the spot or allow a “runner” to pick up the donation; the charity that needs your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow
  • Never donate cash; write a check out to the full name of the charity, never the collectors name or an abbreviation

Give your BBB a call if a charity or fund raiser uses pressure tactics such as intimidation, threats or repeating calls or visits.  Such tactics violate the Council of Better Business Bureau’s Standards for Charitable Solicitations.

If your family’s home or property has been damaged in this most recent round of wildfires, check before you hire a contractor to do repairs, look into purchasing a new insurance policy or make a big purchase.  Not only can we provide you with information on a company via their Business Review, but we also have smart shopping tips & tricks for virtually every industry.

To reach your BBB serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties, please call 858-496-2131.