Homes lay in ruins one week after Hurricane Dorian hit The Mudd neighborhood, in the Marsh Harbor area of Abaco, Bahamas, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Watch for scams when donating to Hurricane Dorian relief, group warns

More than 140 new crowdfunding campaigns related to the storm are already established

With more than 140 new charities using online crowdfunding to support victims of Hurricane Dorian, the Better Business Bureau is encouraging donors to be cautious.

In a news release on Tuesday, the bureau encouraged people to support experienced disaster relief organizations that clearly outline and can show proof of its activities and initiatives.

“Images of devastation may prompt many British Columbians, especially those with family and friends in the affected areas, to find avenues to help,” said spokesperson Karla Davis.

“Not all organizations that claim they are going to aid in relief efforts are verified, and this recent tragedy may also inspire scammers to take advantage of people’s goodwill and generosity.”

READ MORE: Man fundraising to bring Bahamian victims of Hurricane Dorian to Kelowna

The agency shared the following tips:

Verify the trustworthiness of the organization. Donors should watch out for newly created organizations that are either inexperienced at addressing disasters or may try to deceive donors at a vulnerable time.

Make sure you are donating to a registered charity by asking for the registration number and checking for it here.

See if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the affected areas. It may be difficult to provide help quickly and effectively if they don’t. Its website should clearly describe what it can do to address immediate and longer-term needs.

Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. If the latter, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and give directly to those groups in the region.

READ MORE: ‘Bikinishe’ swimwear retailer prompts Better Business Bureau warning

Be cautious about gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations, as they may not be the quickest way to help if the organization has the staff and infrastructure to handle it. Donated goods may impose extra costs on a charity to cover storage and distribution. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans.

Understand crowdfunding. While resources such as the Better Business Bureau’s give.org help vet charities, it can be tough to vet individuals. Some such posts claim to raise funds to deliver and distribute items to impacted areas. Such efforts may risk lives, complicate professional efforts and potentially divert donations that could be directed in more helpful ways. Check the terms and conditions of the crowdfunding platform.

READ MORE: ‘Catastrophic’: Hurricane Dorian parks over the Bahamas

Donors should also remember the emergency phase of a disaster is often just the beginning.

“Full recovery will be a long-term effort that can take many months or years to accomplish, depending on the extent of the damage,” the release said. “Take your time to choose the right charity to help at the right time.”

If you suspect a scam or that you are a victim, report it on BBB Scam Tracker and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

READ MORE: Trudeau, ministers to visit Halifax and survey Dorian recovery efforts



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

46 new COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday in Alberta

Province has completed more than 500,000 COVID-19 tests

Mary C. Moore Public Library receives reopening helping hand from Lacombe Ford

Library computer services now available by appointment

City of Lacombe planning cemetery headstone cleaning

City currently looking for volunteers

Blackfalds resident looks to promote BIPOC-owned businesses

BIVM Business Access AB is designed to create visibility, advertising and access

47 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday in Alberta, still 620 active cases

3 active COVID-19 cases remain in Red Deer

PODCAST: Black Lives Matter in central Alberta Part 2

More insight into the Black Lives Matter movement of central Alberta

PODCAST: The Expert tackles the return of sports

Cam Moon, Joe Whitbread, Byron Hackett and Todd Vaughan discuss how sports can come back

Via to temporarily layoff about 1,000 workers as pandemic impacts its business

Via to temporarily layoff about 1,000 workers as pandemic impacts its business

New Ontario law makes it harder to sue companies via class action

New Ontario law makes it harder to sue companies via class action

Facebook civil rights audit: ‘Serious setbacks’ mar progress

Facebook civil rights audit: ‘Serious setbacks’ mar progress

Gold gets a lift as hedge with Canada’s deficit to surpass $340 billion

Gold gets a lift as hedge with Canada’s deficit to surpass $340 billion

U.S., Mexican presidents meet at White House to talk USMCA, without Canada

U.S., Mexican presidents meet at White House to talk USMCA, without Canada

Charges laid following shooting in Lacombe County

A man turned himself in to Rimbey RCMP after an incident on July 5

Most Read