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Watch out for scams if you want to donate to help people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Fiona

Hurricane Fiona 2022 220919-G-D0439-004Due to Hurricane Fiona, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and nearby Caribbean islands have experienced floods, power outages, home damages, and lack of safe water and other necessities.

Remembering Hurricane Maria five years ago and the loss of 3,000 lives, many people want to donate to Hurricane Fiona victims to avoid similar tragedies.

The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips to help consumers get their donations to the right charities:

Look for appeal clarity. Seek out appeals that are upfront and clear about what disaster relief services you’re supporting.

Give to experienced groups. Support experienced organizations that can provide quick and effective assistance. Be cautious of new organizations when a disaster occurs.

See if the charity has an on-the-ground presence. If the charity already has skilled operations in affected areas, they’ll be in a better position to provide help quickly. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to other organizations. Avoid the “middleman” and give directly to charities active in the region.

Understand crowdfunding. If you’re considering crowdfunding, it’s safest to give to someone you know and trust and review the platform’s policies and procedures. While some crowdfunding sites vet postings for help after a disaster, others don’t.

Give money rather than goods. Donating money is the quickest way to help and provides charities the flexibility to get resources to impacted areas.

Be cautious about 100 percent claims. If a charity claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims, see if they also provide an explanation of how this is done. Even if the charity is using other funds to cover administrative and fundraising costs, those expenses still exist.

Check charities out. See this list of BBB Accredited Charities that are collecting funds to assist Hurricane Fiona relief efforts. Other websites are Charity Navigator and GuideStar.

 

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