The Better Business Bureau and BBB Wise Giving Alliance are offering tips about giving assistance in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma:
• Verify the trustworthiness of soliciting relief.
• Check the charity’s website if it has an on-the-ground presence in the affected areas. Unless the charity already has staff in those areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly.
• Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations.
• Be cautious about gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations. In-kind drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need.
• Understand crowdfunding. Some crowdfunding sites do little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a disaster
• Understand the phases of disaster relief. Every disaster has several phases – rescue, emergency relief and recovery. Each part relies on public support and continuing funding for success.
• Keep in mind recovery will be a long-term activity that could take months or even years. Those helping communities bounce back will have many opportunities to help.
Report suspected scams to bbb.org/scamtracker.
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