Tsunami Relief Aid: How To Avoid Becoming A Scam Victim

Jan 16 00:36 2005 Marketing Basics Print This Article

Tens of ... have been ... more are missing and ... the largest ... to strike the globe since 1964, causing ... tsunami ... when disaster st

Tens of thousands have been killed--thousands more are
missing and injured--in the largest earthquake to strike
the globe since 1964,Guest Posting causing devastating tsunami waves.

Unfortunately, when disaster strikes, con artists invariably rear their ugly heads to try and take advantage of the situation.

In this article, we're going to show you how to avoid becoming a scam victim, when donating to charities for the tsunami relief effort.

To begin with, the best advice we can give you is, "go with who you know!" In other words, donate only to those charities that you're familiar with and that have been around for a while.

A few of the charities we recommend that fall into that category include:

American Red Cross National Headquarters
2025 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 303-4498
Disaster Assistance info: (866) GET-INFO (866-438-4636)
To make a donation: (800) HELP-NOW (800-435-7669)

Oxfam America
26 West Street
Boston, MA 02111
For general questions about Oxfam's work or to make a donation, please call:
In the US: 800-77-OXFAM (800-776-9326)
Outside the US: 617-482-1211

AmeriCares Foundation
88 Hamilton Ave
Stamford, CT 06902
1-800-486-HELP (4357)

3 United Nations Plaza
New York, New York 10017
212-326-7000 - Switchboard UNICEF House

In addition Network for Good is an online resource for all types of legitimate and registered non-profit organizations, including your favorite charities:

Network For Good
8615 Westwood Center Dr.
Suite 1A
Vienna, VA 22182
Phone: 703-265-3683

Listed below are some tips to aid you in giving safely both online and offline:

1. Make sure you have the exact name of the organization. Some charities or charity web sites have names that sound similar and you need to make sure it's a legitimate nonprofit. Before you give online you should be familiar with the name and reputation of the charity you intend to support. If in doubt check with your local United Way or Community Information Center, they may be familiar with the charity.

2. Only give to charities recognized by the appropriate
governmental body in their respective country. Look for the
charity to explain their tax — exempt nonprofit (NGO) status
in a FAQ or similar area of their web site. You should also
be aware that some advocacy organizations are not allowed by
law to issue tax deductible receipts, you may still wish to
support their work, however our advice is to understand
before you make the gift what type of tax receipt you can

3. Any legitimate charity seeking your support via the Internet or offline will give you ample opportunities to ask
questions and to learn about their mission. In the US you
can learn a lot about a charity by ask for the document the
charity files with IRS each year called the 990 Form.
Nonprofit organizations are required by law to provide this
information when asked. If you prefer you can find a copy
already posted online at http://www.guidestar.org

4. Make sure the charity site uses encryption technology that ensures appropriate security for online donations and data transmission. Before entering any information you consider sensitive (i.e. credit card number, personal identification data, etc), verify that the page requesting your credit card information is secure (encrypted). The letters https://—rather than http://— should precede the page's URL and/or there should be an unbroken key or padlock symbol located in the corner of the web browser. If in doubt, contact the charity by telephone or by e-mail before you provide the information online.

5. The Internet provides tremendous opportunities to support
the charity of your choice directly. Don't get taken in
by "charity" or "someone is in need" chain letters. E-mails
that claim money will go to a specified charity each time
the message is forwarded are not true. If your charity does
not provide online giving opportunities at their web site,
consider giving through Network for Good which provides all
registered charities in the U.S. the ability to receive
online donations.

6. Check for a privacy policy concerning the use of your name, e-mail address or other personal information. Don't disclose personal information, such as your address, telephone number, social security number, or e-mail address —unless you know who's collecting the information and how they plan to use it.

7. Print a copy of the final confirmation screen that appears when you have made your gift. In addition, keep a copy of your charitable gift confirmation e-mail for your records. If you do not receive a confirmation of the gift by e-mail (and in most cases by mail as well), do not give to that charity online again, until you are certain they have
brought their online solicitation policies inline with these
tips. In such cases, contact the charity to make sure they
received your gift and request confirmation of the gift.

8. A reputable charity will make certain fullcontact information is readily available in case you need assistance with questions, problems, or service. The charity should provide one or more ways to reach them off line as well as
communicate with them directly online. Look for the
charity's contact address, telephone, e-mail address, etc.

9. The Internet provides charities with an opportunity to share more of their work with you the donor. You should be able to learn how the charity you contribute to plans to use the money you give to help others and fulfill their mission. If you are not certain how the charity will use your charitable gift, ask!

10. Your favorite charity should provide you an opportunity to hear about their work regularly. On their web site or
through e-mail updates the charity should provide
information about how they fulfill their stated mission.
These updates should be received on a regular basis and
should not be tied only to requests for contributions.

In closing, with so much publicity and attention being given to the tsunami disaster, it's easy to forget we have tens of thousands of needy families right here in our own country. Please don't forget about them.

Also, we've been hearing on the news that many Americans have been inquiring about how they can adopt a homeless Southeast Asian child.

Again, please don't forget, we have tens of thousands of homeless children right here in our own country. If you want to adopt, why not consider our own children first?

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