The constant news about Ebola may have you wondering how you can help those who have been significantly impacted. Consequently, you might be tempted to give to a charity. However, the Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers are ready and waiting to take advantage of consumers who have decided to contribute to Ebola-related charities. The FTC says it’s vital for you to do the appropriate research so that you can make sure your donation goes to a reputable organization.
Be leery of appeals for aid that seem to be very urgent. Once you do find a charity that you are considering, find out how the charity will use your contribution.
The FTC offers these tips:
Stick with charities you know and trust. The commission says one trusted charity is the CDC Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization established by Congress that has a Global Disaster Response Fund supporting the Center for Disease Control’s work in West Africa.
Be on the alert for new charities that are formed in connection with current events. The FTC warns consumers about websites that resemble legitimate charitable organizations and international aid efforts. “Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, GuideStar, IRS Select Check, or Foundation Center,” says the FTC.
Do your research. Make sure to ask if the caller is a paid fundraiser, which organization they are affiliated with, and what percentage of your donation will go directly to the charity and to the fundraiser.
Protect your information. Whatever you do, don’t give out your personal financial information unless you know that you’re dealing with a reputable organization.