As news of the recent devastating earthquakes in Haiti quickly spread across the Internet, many folks started looking online for ways in which they could help or donate money to the rescue and recovery efforts. And, as you might expect, scammers look for ways to seize upon the opportunity to take advantage of search engine trends by setting up fake charity sites and sending out spam soliciting donations that will go anywhere but Haiti.
Protect Yourself From Scammers — Read On!
Scammers inevitably pop up anytime something significant happens, such as natural disaster or the death of a major celebrity, and attempt to redirect users to their ‘just-registered’ domains to infect people with malware. Disasters such as the Haiti quakes, though, have the added benefit of concerned citizens wanting to donate money. As we learned during Hurricane Katrina, large numbers of un-savvy Internet users were duped by fake donation sites and ended up sending their hard-earned money to those with ill intentions instead of charities that could actually help those in dire need.
This time around, a number of organizations have issued warnings urging those looking to donate to do their research and choose reputable charities. For example, the Better Business Bureau has a quick guide on what to look for when donating money to Haiti recovery efforts. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also has a fraud alert on its site, warning people to be wary of unsolicited e-mails, those soliciting on social networking sites, and those who claim to be making donations to a charity on your behalf. The clear message from both the BBB and the FBI is to only donate to charities that you know and trust, and if you need help, there’s a list where you can research relief organizations that are accredited by the BBB.
If you don’t have the time to do the research yourself, here are a few suggestions. The most obvious choice is to donate to the Red Cross, which has stated to numerous news sources that they have already exhausted all of their supplies in Haiti and that there are far more people still in need of assistance. However, the Red Cross website isn’t the only place you can donate anymore — the organization says you can donate a quick $10 just by texting the word “Haiti” to 90999. There’s also Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, an international organization created by doctors that provide relief efforts around the world.
There are a number of other entities spreading around Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites that ask you to SMS something to a particular phone number to donate $5 or $10. We caution you, however, to be wary of these unless you hear it directly from a reputable organization (such as the Red Cross, as mentioned above)—there’s no telling how much you’re actually charging back to your own phone bill or what services you may inadvertently sign up for.
While waiting for your donations to go through, you may want to check out Google Maps to catch updated satellite images of the destruction areas. Google is also offering a KML overlay for Google Earth as part of its partnership with GeoEye.
Links to Reputable Charities
Charities Providing Haiti Earthquake Relief
The list below identifies national charities that are seeking to provide assistance in response to the earthquake in Haiti. This list only includes those charities that meet the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance’s Standards for Charity Accountability. Click on each of the names to access a BBB charity report on the organization. Further information about other charities is available at http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/
A Global Benefit For Earthquake Relief
— Donations accepted here also —
This is directly related to the Hope For Haiti International Telethon that will be broadcast across several television broadcast networks as well as several cable channels featuring an all-star lineup from TV, motion pictures and the music industry on Friday, January 22. Networks showing the telethon are ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, BET, the CW, HBO, MTV, VH1 and CMT… and will run commercial-free. It will also be shown internationally.
Haitian-born entertainer Wyclef Jean will helm the show from New York while George Clooney will host the Los Angeles part. CNN’s Anderson Cooper will be in Haiti. MTV says there will be musical performances and celebrity appearances, though no other talent was announced.
Donations made to “Hope for Haiti Now” will benefit these nonprofit organizations to provide Haiti earthquake relief:
The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund: http://www.clintonbushhaitifund.org
United Nations World Food Program: http://www.wfp.org
Oxfam America: http://www.oxfamamerica.org
Partners in Health: http://www.pih.org or http://www.standwithhaiti.org
Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org
UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org Yele Haiti Foundation: http://www.yele.org
Filed under: Haiti Earthquake - Charitable Donations, Resource Directory | Tagged: charitable organizations, charity resources online, disaster relief organizations, Haiti donations, Haiti earthquake, Haiti Relief Fund, relief organizations, reputable charities | 1 Comment »