When natural disasters like Hurricane Ida occur, many painful stories start emerging in the news and on social platforms as hard-hit victims seek help. These critical situations create a sense of urgency that makes many good-willed people offer help. However, in the midst of chaos, confusion, and suffering, there is always someone who is ready to profit and earn undeserved money. In this case, these are people who try to take advantage of natural disasters and make money through donation scams.
Scammers act quickly after a disaster occurs as they take advantage of people’s emotions at their most vulnerable point, when the media is flooded by sad stories of victims who have lost everything overnight. Scammers often manage to make money by impersonating organizations that really offer support to natural disaster victims, or even use stories of real victims to collect money without giving anything to those people.
The golden rule to avoid a donation scam is not to let your emotions dominate you. Naturally, you want to help those people in need as their stories move you and you can’t stop empathizing with them. Yet, emotions shouldn’t prompt you to make a donation after the first post or add you see on social media.
And if someone comes to your door asking for money to help the victims of a natural disaster, you shouldn’t feel pressure to donate there and then. Especially if you have never heard of that organization, you might want to do your research first. Ask the fundraiser for more details on the organization they represent, and of course, the cause they support. Ask for their website or social media profiles and for an option to pay online rather than paying cash. If the fundraiser works for a legitimate company, they will surely and gladly offer you more details and more than likely, you are going to be able to make a donation by bank transfer instead of cash. The problem with paying cash is that you can hardly demonstrate where your money went if you realize you’ve been scammed.
The same goes for online ads or messages you might get on social media platforms. Before you make any payments to support people who have been affected by natural disasters, do your research. Look for the website of the organization that handles the donations. If you don’t find any other information except for that ad or post, you might want to steer clear as that organization might not exist, and you risk giving money to scammers instead of helping people in critical situations.
If someone calls you claiming they are working for an organization that collects money for victims, never handle your bank card details over the phone. Write down the name and website of that organization to find out more about them or ask for their bank account so that you can transfer money. Moreover, if you recognize the name of the charity group or organization that person claims they represent, you can hang up and call them directly to ask how you can make a donation. Many scammers impersonate established organizations either by phone or even in door-to-door donation scams.
Another golden rule is to avoid people who are too pushy and pressure you to donate. It is true that helping the victims of natural disasters such as hurricane Ida is a time-sensitive matter. Those people need money urgently to be able to rebuild their homes and turn back to their regular lives. However, as a donor, you have the right to ponder things before you use some of your hard-earned money to help others. If the person who is collecting donations insists that you pay immediately, be cautious and politely ask them to allow you time to think. You can ask for their contact details and tell them you will get back to them soon. Never give in just because these people are pushy and try to appeal to your emotions.
Finally, to avoid becoming a victim of a donation scam, if you are able and willing to donate, take steps to do this without waiting for someone who might be a scammer to reach out to you. Donate to well-known, mainstream organizations and avoid ads, calls, emails, or door-to-door people who ask for a donation.
Post by: ClearWater Management Korea.