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Tips for Helping in Nepal

Photo: Local villagers from Chautara, north east of Kathmandu, are in need of food and supplies. BBB and others are advising people how they can make sure their money gets to the victims. Photo credit: Jessica Lea/Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Local villagers from Chautara, north east of Kathmandu, are in need of food and supplies. BBB and others are advising people how they can make sure their money gets to the victims. Photo credit: Jessica Lea/Wikimedia Commons
May 4, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. - With the death toll in Nepal's earthquake projected to climb to as many as 10,000 people, Virginians are looking for ways they can help. At the same time, organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, say scammers are looking for ways to take advantage of generosity.

Spokesperson Nancy Crowford says the bureau's "give.org" website has information on charities providing aid to victims. Individual efforts are also common on social media, but Crawford says you should make sure you know the person directly or indirectly.

"With things like crowd-sourcing, crowd-funding, you want to do as much homework as you can and make sure you understand that in those cases," she says. "There may not be a way to prove that the money you're sending is indeed getting to the victims who need it."

Reports from Nepal indicate that aid is slow in getting to remote villages. Identifying a reputable charity that accepts monetary donations to purchase food and supplies on the ground in the region will also help boost Nepal's local economy.

In addition to people posing as charities to redirect money to their wallet, Crawford says a relatively new problem is people posting photos and videos on social media to gain access to your computer. It's called "click-baiting."

"Somebody posts a teaser headline and says, 'click here for shocking photos of earthquake victims,' and the danger in that is, oftentimes, when you click on those kinds of links they download some type of malware to your computer and you could get a virus or you could have something running in the background that's searching through your stuff trying to find personal information," she says.

If you do want to donate to relief efforts, it's recommended you research not only the organization's reputation, but also it's specific presence in Nepal. Unlike other regions impacted by natural disasters, some regions of Nepal are rural and difficult to navigate.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA