Consumer Alert: Donating after a natural disaster strikes

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Images from the aftermath of natural disasters bring out the public’s kindest intentions.

Most people who see others in times of times of need naturally want to help, but scammers take advantage of vulnerable moments to deceive donors.

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“It is an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of people’s good-heartedness. So a lot of times what they will do, they will insert themselves into that conversation. Immediately as soon as that tragedy starts to happen, the fundraisers begin.”

Roseann Freitas, Better Business Bureau Hawaii marketplace manager

Natural disasters like Hurricane Ida and the California wildfires bring financial hardship to many, and heartbreaking stories mean wallets start coming out. But con artists know this — so choose your charities wisely.

“When you’re looking at these charities,” Freitas said, “especially in this situation, you need to find the ones that are going to get the resources to the people on the ground the fastest.”

There are some great, reputable organizations like the American Red Cross. They have the resources and management to not only get dollars to people in need, but put volunteers on the ground as well.

“They have the resources, that is really what their organization is set up to do is when these disasters strike, they’re there,” Freitas said.

The Red Cross is not the only organization that is accepting donations for disaster relief. Click here to check up on if a particular charity meets the Better Business Bureau’s Standards for Charitable Accountability.

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