Generous Iowans who want to help Haiti are being warned to make sure where their money is going before they hit “Donate Now” on any website billing itself as charitable. Jim Hegarty, with the Better Business Bureau, says con artists set up websites within hours of last week’s earthquake to try and take advantage of well-meaning donors.
“Scammers who are purporting to be from the Red Cross hoping that people will make a contribution,” Hegarty says. “It’s not going to go to the Red Cross. It’s actually going to go to the scammers.” He says the con artists are also sending out mass e-mails, claiming they’re with a relief agency and seeking donations. Hegarty says there are two government websites that are reliable.
“If you go to WhiteHouse-dot-gov or you go to state-dot-gov, there’s all kinds of guidance there on how you can make contributions that will immediately get to the victims where 100% of what you’re donating is going to be used to aid in this unbelievable tragedy.” Hegarty notes, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army have policies not to solicit donations through e-mail.
By Karla James