Homes lay in ruins one week after Hurricane Dorian hit The Mudd neighborhood, in the Marsh Harbor area of Abaco, Bahamas, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Watch for scams when donating to Hurricane Dorian relief, group warns

More than 140 new crowdfunding campaigns related to the storm are already established

With more than 140 new charities using online crowdfunding to support victims of Hurricane Dorian, the Better Business Bureau is encouraging donors to be cautious.

In a news release on Tuesday, the bureau encouraged people to support experienced disaster relief organizations that clearly outline and can show proof of its activities and initiatives.

“Images of devastation may prompt many British Columbians, especially those with family and friends in the affected areas, to find avenues to help,” said spokesperson Karla Davis.

“Not all organizations that claim they are going to aid in relief efforts are verified, and this recent tragedy may also inspire scammers to take advantage of people’s goodwill and generosity.”

READ MORE: Man fundraising to bring Bahamian victims of Hurricane Dorian to Kelowna

The agency shared the following tips:

Verify the trustworthiness of the organization. Donors should watch out for newly created organizations that are either inexperienced at addressing disasters or may try to deceive donors at a vulnerable time.

Make sure you are donating to a registered charity by asking for the registration number and checking for it here.

See if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the affected areas. It may be difficult to provide help quickly and effectively if they don’t. Its website should clearly describe what it can do to address immediate and longer-term needs.

Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. If the latter, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and give directly to those groups in the region.

READ MORE: ‘Bikinishe’ swimwear retailer prompts Better Business Bureau warning

Be cautious about gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations, as they may not be the quickest way to help if the organization has the staff and infrastructure to handle it. Donated goods may impose extra costs on a charity to cover storage and distribution. Ask the charity about its transportation and distribution plans.

Understand crowdfunding. While resources such as the Better Business Bureau’s give.org help vet charities, it can be tough to vet individuals. Some such posts claim to raise funds to deliver and distribute items to impacted areas. Such efforts may risk lives, complicate professional efforts and potentially divert donations that could be directed in more helpful ways. Check the terms and conditions of the crowdfunding platform.

READ MORE: ‘Catastrophic’: Hurricane Dorian parks over the Bahamas

Donors should also remember the emergency phase of a disaster is often just the beginning.

“Full recovery will be a long-term effort that can take many months or years to accomplish, depending on the extent of the damage,” the release said. “Take your time to choose the right charity to help at the right time.”

If you suspect a scam or that you are a victim, report it on BBB Scam Tracker and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

READ MORE: Trudeau, ministers to visit Halifax and survey Dorian recovery efforts



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BREAKING: Surrey man pleads guilty on first day of West Kelowna murder trial

Tejwant Danjou is charged with second-degree murder in the July 2018 death of Rama Gauravarapu

Kelowna karate athletes bring home gold at 2020 BC Winter Games

Eight Kelowna-based athletes won gold medals last week

Kelowna council denies proposed provincial pot shop

The shop was proposed within 500 metres of an already approved location

Kelowna mayor to request RCMP’s ‘unfounded’ sexual assault report

RCMP said the report was completed over a month ago but have yet to release it or make a statement

Criminality not suspected in Ellison trailer fire death

The body was discovered after crews responded to reports of a house fire

VIDEO: Feds warned agricultural sector near ‘tipping point’ due to blockades

Canadian Federation of Agriculture points to lack of propane and feed due to Coastal GasLink dispute

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

UPDATE: CP Rail blockade near Chase removed, hereditary chief arrested

Protest held in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en First Nation regarding RCMP, LNG pipeline

Seven arrested at blocked rail line in northern B.C., police say

But a Gitxsan hereditary chief says 14 were arrested, as fight over natural gas pipeline continues

Hospital parking fees needed, but changes to payment system possible, health minister says

B.C. health minister Adrian Dix says hospital parking doesn’t need to be so stressful

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Man accused of attacking Penticton doctor has charges stayed by court

Charges against Gregory Nield for alleged attack on a psychiatrist at PRH stayed by Crown

Do you talk to your spouse about money? 42% of Canadians don’t, poll suggests

Politics, sex, religion top list of taboo subjects for Canadians

Most Read