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BBB, AG and secretary of state warns of scams for victims of typhoon
DUPONT — In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, email scams which solicit the wiring of money to stranded victims in the Philippines are surfacing. Better Business Bureau, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, and the Office of Secretary of State warn willing donors to give cautiously over the next few weeks.
“Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones in this devastating storm,” says Tyler Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “However, it’s important for donors to understand that not all pleas for help are legitimate.”
“Scammers look to exploit our compassion for helping others during disasters,” says Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “Take time to research the charity you’d like to donate to so your hard earned money reaches those in need, not a scammer’s wallet.”
“It’s heartwarming that many people in our state want to donate money to help with disaster relief in the Philippines,” says Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “We strongly suggest that people be careful when donating so their money actually goes where it’s needed instead of into the hands of scammers.”
Andrew, Ferguson and Wyman advise donors to take proactive steps to avoid being ripped-off by questionable solicitors or wasting money on poorly-managed relief efforts:
• Don’t donate based on names. Avoid organizations that include the name of the storm or disaster — as they may have just been founded and have little experience or are simply trying to take advantage of highly-visible news coverage.
Avoid donating the wrong goods or products. Sending non-essential items could be a wasted effort and slow down the relief process; be sure to verify which items are needed and the specific distribution plans that are in place. Some organizations may only accept clothing and goods from locations close to the disaster zone to avoid freight costs.
• Steer clear of inexperienced relief efforts. Inexperienced charities will likely hamper assistance and divert funds from other helpful organizations.
• Research before donating. Before responding to emails or social media posts soliciting money, check out organizations at give.orgto verify accountability standards.