It’s been days since the typhoon passed, but the relief operations aren’t stopping. So maybe you figured you want to help, and you might be overwhelmed with the droves of donation drives you’re seeing online. But don’t just pick one at random. Make sure the person or organization you’re sending your donations to are legit. So here are some tips you should practice to be sure your donation is going where it should
Look for established organizations and charities
For your donations, here are the official bank accounts and donation lines of the Philippine Red Cross.
— Philippine Red Cross (@philredcross) November 14, 2020
If it’s your first time donating, make sure you bring your donations to trusted organizations. Those with a proven track record (i.e. past donation drives in similar disasters, etc.) should be the ones you’re looking at. These include Philippine Red Cross, KayaNatinPH, ABS-CBN Foundation, GMA Kapuso Foundation, and the likes. If you’re not familiar with these types of organizations, do your research. Look up reviews, ratings, or complaints (if any) that may be associated with these organizations.
Specify the donee
Lots of donation drives right now say that they will send the collected funds and donations to “victims of Typhoon Ulysses” or “Cagayan flood victims”, but it’s best to make sure the drive you’re joining is really for the typhoon. And to do that, you should look for proof of where exactly your donations are going. Things you should look for are receipts of donations, photos and videos of ongoing relief operations, their on-ground partner in Cagayan/Bicol/etc., and the likes.
Be wary of prize offers
It’s a general rule that most organizations or individuals offering prizes if you just donate something is probably a scam. Donation isn’t a requirement for winning sweepstakes. But there may be small organizations that do this to encourage people to give back, like raffling off a much-desired item (e.g. gaming console, book, album, etc.) so more people would join and donate. If you really want to join, what you have to do is what we’ve been saying since the start: make sure they’re legit.
Don’t donate via emails or phone calls
Solicitations may come through your email address or phone number, but you have to be smart about these. Even if an email looks official, it could still be a scam, so don’t click any links or download any attachments! Phone calls, on the other hand, may be legit, but there are some third-party telemarketers who may get a cut on your donation. Which, you know, defeats the purpose of donating.
Don’t donate to people randomly sending you a message
With the numerous donation drives online comes the equally numerous “victims” that may be sending you direct messages to ask for help. Netizens have shared experiences with strangers privately messaging them, showing “photos” and sharing their “stories” of them being devastated by the floods, to ask for monetary donations. Some have been moved enough by these stories that they sent cash immediately. But it turns out they are just scammers.
STOP USING THIS CAGAYAN NEEDS HELP TO SCAM PEOPLE!! THEY ARE NOW SUFFERING AND DYING FOR HELP! A LOT OF PEOPLE IS SCREAMING AND CRYING RIGHT NOW BECAUSE OF PAIN, SO STOP MAKING FUN OF THIS DISASTER!! BE WARE OF THIS SCAMMERS.
— entice. (@akotosiceles) November 14, 2020
Keep in mind that victims may not be able to immediately access communication lines (whether through the internet, text, or calls) due to the devastation they’ve experienced. While it might seem better to send donations directly to victims, these scammers prove that donating through trusted organizations, while it may take longer, is still safer, because you’ll be sure your goodwill goes to the right place.
Which leads to the next point.
Avoid donating cash if you can
Especially if you’re donating to individuals. Scammers are unfortunately abounding, even in this time of great need, so donations in kind may be a better option for most of us. Plus, you won’t have a record of your donation on you, so in case the drive might be a scam, you probably won’t be able to do anything.
If needed, send it via credit card
This way, you’ll be safer. You can have a record of your donation, in which you can review if you’ve donated the amount you’ve agreed to give, as well as a fighting chance against scammers. Disputing transactions over credit cards is slightly easier than over debit accounts, especially if you use payment channels like Paypal.
Disseminate information on known scammers
— ️️️️ ️️️️ (@angelajeee) November 14, 2020
If you’ve seen information on a confirmed scammer or even encountered one yourself, make sure others know about them, so those who want to help would know who to avoid. Some netizens have compiled a list of scammers specifically targeting those donating to the flood victims.
How else can you avoid scammers when trying to help?