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Scam Central

BBB Warns Donors to Give Wisely to Japan Relief Efforts

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March 14, 2011 | 2,220 views | Post a comment

Tips to Consider Prior to Making Charity Donations for Japan

Austin, TX -- Friday’s historic earthquake and the ensuing tsunami in Japan have left hundreds of thousands of people in need of help. As a result, charities have begun making requests for contributions to support the disaster relief efforts. With many options available for donors to consider, BBB recommends the following tips to help donors decide where and how to make a valuable donation.

- Consider a relief-based charity. Some organizations may not specialize in disaster relief, but offer to raise money to pass along to relief organizations. Consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those organizations that have a relief-based presence in the region.

- Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will go to relief efforts. Despite what an organization may claim, charities have administrative costs. For example, a credit card donation will involve a processing fee, at a minimum. The truth is most organizations will incur fund raising and administrative expenses.

- Check the reputation of a charity with BBB. Donors are advised to visit to research a charity and verify that it is reputable prior to making a payment.

- Be cautious of online or text message solicitations. Online giving can be very convenient, but avoid donating in response to unexpected text messages or emails that claim to link to a relief organization. Scam organizations with official looking names can be created overnight. If you want to give to a charity involved in the relief efforts, go directly to that charity’s website.

- Understand the details with text donations. Consumers donated over $32 million via text message to the Red Cross to assist with Haiti relief efforts last year. However, it’s important to understand that text message donations are limited to only $10 per person. Donors should be wary if any organization is offering the ability to donate more than $10 through texting.

- Do not give cash. Using a credit card is recommended, but checks or money orders can be used as long as they are made out to the name of the charity, not to an individual collecting the donation.

For more information on how to find trustworthy charities , visit BBB.

About Better Business Bureau:
BBB's mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.

Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.

Contact BBB serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas at (512) 445-4748.

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