6 On Your Side Answers: How to spot fraudulent charities

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Warnings are being issued to watch out for disaster relief scams exploiting the Typhoon Haiyan disaster in the Philippines.

Several 6 news viewers have asked, “How can you spot fraudulent charities?”

The devastating damage in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Haiyan has caught everyone’s attention, and hearts are focused on assisting the thousands of people in desperate need of aid.

Often after any international tragedy, con artists will show up on websites attempting to divert donations to fake online relief funds.

Anxious donors sometimes forget to follow common sense, because these fraudsters take advantage of our willingness to help.

For example, if an organization wants you to donate clothing or food for the relief effort, it may end up being a wasted effort.

“Typically most organizations prefer to buy clothing and food closer to the source because of shipping cost and the time it takes to deliver,” said Jerry Tipton with the Better Business Bureau.

Tipton says to make sure to check into online and social media pitches to make sure they’re legitimate.

“It is an emotional pitch a lot of times, and sometimes they’re legitimate. Just because a friend says they have donated and would like you to donate, if they haven’t been vetted, you take the risk of the money not going to the cause,” he said. “Even the legitimate organizations that have been around for a long time, they take up for many different causes. So you have to know is the money going to this cause or to something else I’m not aware of.”

Tipton says the takeaway message is to do your homework.Tthe BBB has a list of 25 accredited charities accepting donations for typhoon relief activities.

You can check the website www.give.org for a list of charities involved in typhoon relief. Some are engaged in immediate relief, while others are focused on longer term recovery efforts.

You can see Don Dare’s 6 On Your Side Answers every Tuesday and Thursday on 6 News at 4:00.

If you have a question you can send Don an email at ddare@wate.com or call his 6 On Your Side hotline at (865) 633-5974.

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