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Nepal Earthquake Scammers are Out There, Says BBB of Utah

PHOTO: Many legitimate nonprofit groups are helping Nepal earthquake victims, but the BBB warns people to be cautious about others that claim to be, or be working for, charities. Image courtesy of usaid.gov.
PHOTO: Many legitimate nonprofit groups are helping Nepal earthquake victims, but the BBB warns people to be cautious about others that claim to be, or be working for, charities. Image courtesy of usaid.gov.
April 29, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY - Be cautious if donating money to any organization claiming to be helping earthquake victims in Nepal.

Caution is the message from Better Business Bureau of Utah president Jane Driggs, who said major disasters, such as the Nepal quake that has killed and injured thousands, tend to almost instantly bring out scam artists who are more than willing to collect donations under the false promise of helping those most in need.

"Unfortunately, when any disaster happens," she said, "the scammers start thinking about how they can get a part of the money that should go to the victims."

Driggs advised researching all charities on the Better Business Bureau's website give.org, which ranks organizations on 20 standards of charitable accountability. She said charitynavigator.org is another trusted site that lists and ranks nonprofit organizations.

Driggs said the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and World Vision are among more than 30 organizations approved by give.org that also are collecting donations for Nepal earthquake victims. If you're donating money to a charity that is not on give.org, she said, it's best to deal with that group directly rather than through a fundraiser.

"Reach out and find about their organizations," she said. "Do a little research, and make a difference."

Another big downside to charity fraud, she said, is that it can stop otherwise generous individuals from donating to worthy causes in the future.

The BBB has earthquake donation tips online at bbb.org.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT