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  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: charity, , , ,   

    How to help the people of Ukraine without being scammed 

    How to help the people of Ukraine without being scammed

    By Greg Collier

    The Unites States is probably one of the most, if not the most, charitable country in the world. As a society, we do not hesitate to open our wallets and loosen purse strings when it comes to crises of human suffering. And right now, there is no bigger crisis than what’s currently happening in the Eastern European country of Ukraine. But as always, there is no humanitarian crisis that scammers won’t take advantage of, and yes, they are trying to take advantage of the situation in Ukraine.

    Social media posts have already started popping up that lead to websites asking for funds for Ukraine. Except these websites do not state what charity they’re supposed to be collecting for or how the funds will help the people of Ukraine.

    You’ll also want to avoid any form of solicitation when it comes to making any donations. This can include phone calls, emails, text messages, or messages through social media. These solicitors often use generic names for their charities, like ‘International Relief Fund’, or something along those lines. Also, avoid any supposed charity that asks for donations in methods like gift cards or cryptocurrency. You may want to avoid crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe, as scammers have been known to use them for scams after natural and man-made disasters.

    If you really want to donate to help victims of the current crisis, stick to well-known charities such as UNICEF, The International Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders. These organizations are world renowned for helping those who have been displaced through war, famine, or natural disaster. You can find lists of other reliable charitable organizations here and here.

    If there’s a charity not listed that you still want to donate to, please check with sites like Charity Navigator and Give.Org to make sure they are reputable charities.

    Now more than ever, we need our donations going to the people who need them, rather than the pockets of scammers.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: charity, , , , , ,   

    How to donate safely to tornado victims 

    How to donate safely to tornado victims

    By Greg Collier

    We’re sure you’ve heard the news that over the weekend, at least 50 tornadoes touched down in eight states in the South and the Midwest. The state of Kentucky was said to have received the brunt of the storms and the most damage. While we have to yet see any reports of it yet, it’s almost guaranteed that charity scams will follow in the wake of the tornadoes’ devastation. Scammers have long used tragedies, both natural and man made, to try and take money that could be better used providing relief to the victims.

    The State of Kentucky is trying to get ahead of these scams by letting donators know that the state has set up an official relief fund website where anyone can donate money to assist the victims in Kentucky. Fundraising platform GoFundMe has also set up a portal to help guide contributors to legitimate fundraising channels to help the victims in not only Kentucky, but the other state’s as well. And you can always donate money or blood to the Red Cross.

    People looking to donate to a relief fund should be wary of phone or email solicitors that come from generic sounding entities like ‘Disaster Relief Fund’. If a charity appears to be trying to pressure you into making a donation either over the phone or online, there’s a good chance that they’re scammers.

    If you’d prefer not to donate to any of the charities listed above, you can always check the legitimacy of a charity by going to websites like Charity Navigator and Give.org that can let you know which charities are legitimate and which ones aren’t. You can also check with the IRS to see if a charity is registered with them, which goes a long way in showing the charity’s legitimacy.

    The following video is from the 2011 Joplin, Missouri, tornado disaster, but the tips remain just as relevant.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 19, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: charity, , , earthquake, haiti, ,   

    Warning issued over disaster relief scams 

    Warning issued over disaster relief scams

    By Greg Collier

    If you’ve been following the news recently, you might have heard about the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti. The earthquake left close to 2,000 victims dead, with thousands more displaced. And this was after the devastating effects of Tropical Storm Grace. You might be moved to make a charitable donation to help the disaster relief, but as usual, scammers are looking to take advantage of the plight of the Haitians for their own personal gain. So, you can’t just donate to any charity that comes along claiming to help the Haiti disaster.

    The Florida Attorney General’s office has issued a warning about charity scams related to the earthquake. While the scams haven’t appeared yet, the Florida Attorney General expects them to descend on Florida due to their large Haitian population. However, it will probably also start spreading outside of the Sunshine State.

    You should avoid donating to any charity that has a vague name like ‘Disaster Relief Fund’. Charities that solicit you out of the blue by using robocalls or mass emails could be suspect as well.

    If you want to make a meaningful donation, there are ways to check to make sure the charity you’re donating to is legitimate. For example, there are websites like Charity Navigator and Give.org that can let you which charities are for real and which ones aren’t. You can also check to see if a charity is registered with the IRS.

    As with most scams, if you’re contacted out of the blue, do not give any personal or financial information to whoever is contacting you. Also, be careful of any crowdfunding campaign that is being run by anonymous or unknown individuals.

    The people of Haiti deserve our help, and your contribution shouldn’t go into the pockets of a scammer.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , charity, , food banks, MacKenzie Scott, volunteer   

    Food bank to receive surprise donation from billionaire 

    Food bank to receive surprise donation from billionaire

    2020 was a particularly difficult year for food banks. Due to the pandemic, most food banks saw an increase in demand for their services by people who were either laid off or furloughed. Now imagine you’re one of these struggling food banks and you find out you’re going to receive a substantial donation from one of the country’s richest people.

    That’s what happened to a food bank in Arkansas after they were contacted by billionaire and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Scott is the former wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and has promised to donate most of her wealth. So far, Scott has donated close to $2 billion to groups that have historically served marginalized and underserved people.

    But you don’t have to be a billionaire to help your local food bank. You can always donate food as the name implies, however, each food bank has specific needs. Please contact your local food bank to see what their most urgent needs are. Please don’t donate the canned goods that have been sitting in your cabinet that have been collecting dust for years. If you’re not going to eat it, the odds are that the food bank won’t need it. What they do need in most cases is nonperishable foods that have a decent shelf life. Peanut butter and canned meats like tuna and ham are preferred.

    If you don’t know what foods to donate, you can always donate money if you can afford it. Most of these organizations are barely scraping by with their operating costs. Most food banks will not receive donations like the one Ms. Scott will be donating to the Arkansas food bank.

    If you can’t donate food or money you could always volunteer your time. Many of the front-line workers at food banks are the elderly and they’re putting themselves at great risk. The more volunteers a food bank has, the less likely it will be that one of their elderly workers will become infected.

    If you want to help your community recover during these trying times, we can think of no better way than helping with your local food bank.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: charity, , ,   

    Charity scams hit hardest this time of year 

    Charity scams hit hardest this time of year

    This time of year, many charities see increases in donations due to the giving spirit of the holidays. However, there are some organizations posing as charities that might not help who they claim to.

    Most charity scams start with unsolicited phone calls. They’ll claim to be collecting money for an official-sounding charity or a charity that uses a similar name to an official charity. They may also use a generic phrase like they’re collecting for bond relief without giving a specific charity name. They’ll then try to pressure you into making a payment right then and there before you can hang up. Often they’ll try to get you to make a donation using an untraceable method like cash, gift cards, or wiring the money.

    If you’re thinking about donating to a charity that collects online, you may want to think about doing a proper web search about the charity first. Put the name of the charity into the search engine along with phrases like ‘complaints’, ‘review’, or even ‘scam. Also, make sure that you’re not signing up for a series of monthly donations.

    You should also be careful of phishing emails that pretend to be from charities. Much like the unsolicited phone calls, the emails will look like they’ve been sent from actual well-known charities. In one instance, a man clicked on an email link to donate to a charity, and his device became infected with ransomware. Not only did he end up losing all his files, but his identity was stolen as well.

    If you’re looking to donate in order to support the cause, you can use the Better Business Bureau’s Give.org to aid you in your research of charities.

    There really is no level that online scammers won’t stoop to. If you just take a few moments to do some research, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these con artists.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: charity, , , ,   

    Always check your charity 

    Always check your charity

    This time of year, many charities see increases in donations due to the giving spirit of the holidays. However, there are some organizations posing as charities that might not help who they claim to. Recently, police in North Carolina have been warning residents about a charity they believe to be a scam. To make matters even worse, the charity claims to assist the homeless and victims of domestic violence. These are people who are at their most vulnerable and probably need our donations the most. Yet there are those who are willing to exploit their plight in order to make a profit.

    Residents of Cornelius, North Carolina, which is just outside of Charlotte, have been reporting that they’ve found pink bags stuck in their doors. The bags are said to be for clothing donations that would help the homeless and domestic violence victims. It’s not just North Carolina where these bags have popped up either. Other reports have shown the bags showing up all over the Southeast. Some reports have gone as far as to say that the charity is selling the donations for profit. There have also been other accusations saying the charity is actually exploiting those they’re supposed to be helping by making them work in a call center to solicit more donations. The Better Business Bureau has said that this group is a charity but not a very good one.

    While researching this story all it took was a quick web search to find out many of the problems various states have had with this charity. Anytime you’re solicited by a charity that you haven’t heard of, it’s always best if you research them first before donating any money or goods. There are many families who are homeless or in domestic violence shelters at any time of the year. However, this time of the year is especially bad for them. If you feel the need to help them during the holidays, please contact your local shelters to see how you can help.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: charity, , ,   

    Are the proceeds really going to charity? 

    Are the proceeds really going to charity?

    We’ve all seen the commercials on TV where if you buy a certain item a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a specific charity. Usually, those TV ads are sponsored by a major corporation whose product is a known item with a reasonable reputation. Also, the proceeds are usually going to a well-known charity that has done good across the country if not the globe. However, in these days of multiple avenues of media, it’s not just television where these ads are appearing. The problem is that some of these ads are trying to take advantage of your generosity.

    The Better Business Bureau is reporting that there are ads appearing on social media that purport to be selling an item for charity. Some of these supposed merchants will even go as far as direct messaging people and will ask them to help spread the word about the alleged charity. What really happens is that there is no charity and you won’t be receiving any item. Instead, the phony vendor is just trying to make off with your hard-earned money, or worse, trying to steal your financial information.

    If you come across one of these ads and are tempted to buy the product you should first do your research. The BBB recommends checking for reviews of the company first to see if they have any complaints filed against them. You shouldn’t be fooled by a slick-looking website either as they can be put up and dismantled in a matter of moments. You can also research the charity at Give.org which is also maintained by the BBB.

    There really is no level that online scammers won’t stoop to. If you just take a few moments to do a modicum of investigation, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these con artists.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: charity, , ,   

    States warn of hurricane charity scams 

    States warn of hurricane charity scams

    Hurricane Dorian has already devastated the Bahamas. It’s now threatening the East Coast with damaging wind and rains. Even though it’s been downgraded to a category 2 hurricane it’s still expected to cause major damage to Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Victims of the hurricane, whether in the US or the Caribbean, will be looking to charitable donations to help rebuild what they’ve lost from the storm. While it’s always a good idea to donate to those in need you should always be careful about who you’re donating to. As we’ve been saying, natural disasters tend to bring out any number of con artists and scammers and they often tend to pose as charities.

    Both the Florida Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau are warning those willing to donate to not fall for phony charities. Robocallers will soon be hitting up unsuspecting people asking for donations for storm relief. They’re hoping that people are willing to pay the first person who comes along asking for money. Too often people are willing to do this. While the donators’ hearts are in the right place it doesn’t help those in need.

    Florida has set up the Fresh From Florida website to help you pick a legitimate charity. Meanwhile, the BBB has Give.org to guide you to the best charity suited for you and the victims of the storm.

    Some more tips to avoid charity scams include not paying a supposed charity with gift cards or wire transfers as these are the most common tools scammers use to take your money. Also, beware of crowdfunding sites that give vague statements about who the money is going to. If they something along the lines of the money is going to the ‘victims of Hurricane Dorian’ without citing a specific charity the odds are likely it is a scam.

  • Geebo 8:15 am on August 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: charity, , fallen officer, ,   

    Scam takes advantage of fallen police officer 

    Scam takes advantage of fallen police officer

    We’ve posted about some pretty reprehensible scams in the past. Some of the ones that come to mind are the scam that threatens your family with violence, the scam that targeted victims of a devastating forest fire, and the grandparent scam. All of the scams mentioned are designed to take advantage of people’s emotions when they’re at their most vulnerable moments. Now, a scam has popped up that tries to prey on people’s generosity while they’re trying to heal from a great loss in their community.

    In Illinois, a State Trooper was killed in the line of duty this past Friday. 33-year-old father of three and 10 year veteran of the force, Nick Hopkins was shot and killed while trying to serve a warrant in East St. Louis. Within a day of his passing, scammers were already trying to solicit funds from people in Trooper Hopkins name. While it wasn’t mentioned in the report we’ve read, we can only imagine that this was done through social media in order to maximize the number of people who could see the posts in such a short amount of time. The only official channel where donations can be made for Tropper Hopkins is through the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation.

    Police and fire departments have unfortunately long been the unwilling pawns in a number of scams. Most involve the scammers calling victims claiming to collect donations for any number of first responder foundations. Often, these scammers will try to pressure you into making a donation. Legitimate charities will be happy to get a donation at any time and will let you take your time to think about it. If you want to donate to any first responder charity, the best way to find out where to donate is to call that department specifically at their non-emergency business number.

  • Geebo 9:25 am on June 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: charity, ,   

    Why not choose charity when you can’t sell? 

    Why not choose charity when you can't sell?

    We often use classifieds sites like Geebo to not only make some money for ourselves but to also try to get rid of some of the clutter around our homes. However, what do you do when you have some items that you just can’t seem to sell? You always have the option of donating those items to charity.

    Money Talks News, by way of WTOL, has a great article on what charities could use what items. For example, building materials can be used by Habitats for Humanity. Mattresses in decent condition can be used by homeless shelters. Worn linens can be donated to local animal shelters to use as bedding for their animals that are up for adoption. Even older cell phones which are generally hard to sell can be donated to domestic abuse shelters so victims can contact their loved ones and have a lifeline to the outside world. The opportunities for donation are almost endless.

    Let’s not forget our local neighbors either. Often times there are people in need in your own community who may be in need of help who are too proud or too embarrassed to ask for help. There are many community driven websites that help you keep in touch with your local community on a personal basis and some of those people could use your donations. Also, check your nearby churches. While you may not be the religious type, many churches often have outreach programs for the needy that could use some of your donated items. Even if you’re only motivation is money, many donations to charity are often tax-deductible. However, when donating, make sure you’re giving to a legitimate charity as there are many scammers out there who are looking to prey upon the generous and kind-hearted. Even in charity, you should always do your research.

    Just the donation of something you might consider junk given to the right person or organization can mean the difference in the world to somebody who’s in need.

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