Natural disasters bring out the bogus relief charities

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Natural disasters bring out the bogus relief charities
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RIP-OFF ALERT: Anytime there is a tragedy in the world, you see how generous humans being are.  I recently shared with you a report that detailed how much more financially charitable Americans are than the citizens of almost any other society on the Earth. Yet in the midst of giving of ourselves, we open ourselves up to scams.

People are already being scammed by phonies collecting money for the New Zealand earthquake victims. The televised images from Down Under have been so dramatic and really pulled on people’s heartstrings.

Then you also recently had a series of tornados in the Heartland of the United States. And just days after I originally wrote this post, Japan suffered a devastating earthquake and tsunami. How soon before the scamsters come out supposedly collecting for these people?

I don’t tell you this to discourage your generosity. But you’ve got to be smart about it. I want you to independently verify that a charity is legitimate. Don’t just respond emotionally to somebody on a corner, or on the other end of the phone or in an e-mail. Who knows if they’re really who they say they are?

The best way to check charities out is by visiting sites like Give.org and CharityNavigator.org. With their online tools, you won’t have to worry that you gave money to some phony baloney. Plus, you can see how efficiently a given charity handles your money.

I’ve also found a great resource on CharityWatch.org that offers letter grades (A+ to F) for the various Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief efforts out there. Check it out before putting your hard-earned dollars to work helping the island nation. 

Finally, if you’re personally involved with a charity organization, either as a recipient of relief or a volunteer helping others, go with who you know. You can give to that group and feel well assured the money will be used as you want it to be.

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Clark Howard About the author:
Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. More about Clark
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