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When a natural disaster strikes, for a second the whole world stops. We sympathise with those affected and keep them in our thoughts and prayers. We even may (and should) give to supporting charities and organisations to give relief to those affected. But are our donations actually going to the right place? News outlets spread the message like wildfire and immediately our lives and news feeds are filled with good wishes and calls to donate. But what charities do we give to? With the ability to transfer money with just a few easy clicks, it is often tempting to give to any charity that claims to help the victims.

The ugly truth however is that scammers are always targeting the kind at heart, and a global call to give is the perfect time for them to launch fake charities and campaigns siphoning money away from much needed relief funds.

To avoid being charity scammed online you should always:

  1. Double-check that your chosen charity has a verified background and contact information.

  2. Don’t donate via social media. Stay clear of ‘pop-up’ pages collecting funds, scammers will even use a similar charity name that people may be familiar with.

  3. Check your URL. If you are giving funds make sure the websites URL begins with ‘https://’.

  4. Choose well known charities. Larger organisations such as Red Cross and UNICEF are always a safer option as long as donations are made through official company portals.

  5. Banks often create relief funds on their own website

In a crisis that has cost people not only their homes and livelihoods, but even the lives of their loved ones, the least we can do is make sure our donations reaches those in need. So dig deep and give generously, but stay safe.

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