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Charity Scams Spring Up in Wake of Nepal Earthquake

Donors from across the globe are giving generously to support victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal. Scammers know this, and these con artists are using social media to fool potential donors into giving to non-existent charities. Donors from across the globe are giving generously to support victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal. Scammers know this, and these con artists are using social media to fool potential donors into giving to non-existent charities. How the Scam Works: You are on Facebook, and you see a post in your newsfeed. It's a shocking image from the recent earthquake in Nepal, and it's accompanied by a request for donations. Here's one example. You click over to the Facebook page. You notice that it was set up only a few days ago and isn't associated with an established charity. The page claims to be collecting money for the victims of the earthquake, and it encourages you to click a link to donate. Don't do it! Many Facebook pages requesting donations have sprung up in the wake of the Nepal earthquake. Unfortunately, this now happens with every major tragedy. Some pages are outright scams: con artists pocket the donations or use scam donation forms to collect banking information. Others are created by well-meaning people or groups. They may intend to do good with the donations, but they lack the infrastructure of an established charity. Still others are "click bait" designed to create a large number of followers that can later be sold to a new page owner. Be Smart About Online Giving: Check out BBB Wise Giving Alliance's complete list of tips on their website as links to BBB Accredited Charities active in Nepal relief.
  • Be cautious when giving online. Be cautious about spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. If you want to give to a charity involved in relief efforts, go directly to the charity's website.
  • Be careful with Facebook recommendations: Use social media as a starting point, but don't assume that your Facebook friend vetted the charity she/he posted.
  • Program Descriptions: Look for a clear description of the organization's programs in its appeals and website. Does the program explain how (financial assistance, shelter, counseling) it is helping earthquake victims?
  • On-the-Spot Donation Decisions: Be wary of excessive pressure in fundraising.  Don't be pressured to make an immediate on-the-spot donation.  Charities should welcome your gift whenever you want to send it.
For More Information Learn more about email scams in the wake of the Nepal earthquake in this alert by the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team. Check out Give.org, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance's website, for charity evaluation and smart giving tips. To find out more about other scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scam). ___________________ The BBB is dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers in the U.S. and Canada, instilling consumer confidence and contributing to a trustworthy marketplace for all.