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

Search and Rescue receives unprecedented funding from province

South Columbia Search and Rescue increase their range with addition of jet boat, ‘Second Chance’

Trail council greenlights contracts

Trail city council Governance and Operations Committee briefs

Trail council rejects rezoning bylaw for senior housing project

Rezoning application peaked concerns from several nearby residents

Plane crashes into Nelson supermarket parking lot

Pilot and passenger have minor injuries

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Anonymous letters tell Vancouver Island family their kids are too loud

Letter said the noise of kids playing in Parksville backyard is ‘unbearable’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Most Read