Hurricane Sandy absolutely ravaged the east coast, but there are scammers out there that are hoping to ravage your bank account. While donating to the cleanup and recovery efforts is certainly a good thing, the government is warning people to watch out for scams. If you want to help the recovery efforts, there are legitimate ways to do so. Find out how to avoid Sandy-related scams and how you can help Sandy victims without getting caught in a “storm” of theft, fraud and hoaxes.
What to Watch Out For
There are a number of scams being sent through email. If you receive an unsolicited email asking for donations to help the victim of hurricane Sandy, there’s a good chance it isn’t real. These emails have been arriving from people claiming to be victims and even from those claiming to be elected officials. Scammers are also using social networking sites to lure in those that want to help those in need. If you live close to an affected area, you may even be approached on the street or at your home. Be wary of those asking for cash donations and never give out personal or financial information.
How to Help
Whether you listen to the radio or tune in to the evening news, many broadcasters are telling people that the American Red Cross is the only way to donate to those affected by the hurricane. The American Red Cross is certainly the most established and well-known center for donations during disasters, but you also can’t overlook the need of animals affected by the hurricane. The American Humane Association, the ASPCA, and The Humane Society of the United States are all asking for donations to help pets affected by Hurricane Sandy. In other words, while the American Red Cross is a great way to donate, there are other places. However, you need to remember to donate to companies you’ve actually heard of. If Target asked you for a donation, it’s legit. If some guy stops you on the side of the street, it’s more than likely a scam.
A good heart and willingness to help are wonderful traits that every human being should have. Unfortunately, scammers love to prey on those that have a kind heart. This means you need to stop and think before making a donation. Ask yourself if the company is legit and do research, if need be. A little bit of time can save you from getting scammed.