The Fort McMurray Fire And A Horrible Scam That Comes With It
How the scam works:
(with video below) Every time there is a major disaster happening, there are criminals who are banking on the emotional decisions of those who want to help. The latest calamity just hit the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, the entire population of over 80,000 people being evacuated this week, due to a massive fire. The province of Alberta has declared a state of emergency.
Watch the shocking video below to see how the fire burns down the city of Fort McMurray, on Global TV:
Requests for fake charity donations are so common nowadays that they could happen anywhere. Needless to say, following the Fort McMurray disaster fake Red Cross accounts and campaigns started to pop up on websites like Twitter, GoFundMe, or Facebook. As several people have their hearts and wallets open for the victims of the Fort McMurray fires, many fall victims themselves to the cause. Crooks are setting up bogus donations pages which collect victims' money and personal information.
For the time being, the safest place to donate towards the victims of the Fort McMurray fires is through the real Red Cross website. You can visit the Red Cross Alberta Fires Emergency Appeal page and donate HERE. You can also the Twitter account of the Red Cross Canada HERE.
The Fort McMurray disaster is the largest fire-related evacuation in Alberta's history. Luckily, there are no reported deaths or physical injuries, but over 1,600 houses were destroyed, and 10,000 hectares of land were affected.
“Don't send household goods,” says Jen McManus, Vice President of Red Cross Alberta, in an interview given to Montreal Gazette. “As well-meaning as the gesture is of sharing your plenty, your extra clothes and dishes are not needed. Consumables like toiletries, diapers, and non-perishable goods are welcome, but cash is always the right size because it can help buy medicine, fruit, bread, and other things that can’t be washed and reused like your excess pairs of pants. The Red Cross is accepting dollars donations.”
How to avoid the Donations For The Fort McMurray Fire Victims scam:
You have a good heart and like to help those in need, but what you need to do is research these organizations first. All legitimate charity organizations have to be registered and will have an online presence; if they are small and claim they don’t have a website, always ask them for identification and their registration number. If you donate money, you have the right to know exactly where it is going. And really, it’s better to give, not to individuals with a collecting box, but online directly to the charity.
The Better Business Bureau has offered the following tips to make sure your donation reaches those who need it most after the Fort McMurray fires:
Be cautious when giving online. Especially in response to unsolicited emails, text messages, or social media posts. If you want to give to a charity, go directly to their website.
Rely on expert opinion when giving to a charity. Go to www.bbb.org/charity to research charities and relieve organizations to make sure they meet the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims. Charities always have fundraising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee.
Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to bring in new aid workers to provide assistance quickly.
Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, you may want to consider avoiding the middleman.
Gifts of clothing, food or other supplies. Drives for food and clothing, while well intentioned, may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need – unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid properly.
How to report the Donations For The Fort McMurray Fire Victims scam:
How to protect yourself more:
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