With the devastation Typhoon Haiyan has caused in the Philippines, there are email scams popping up all over the place. People’s first reaction when seeing images and videos of the area that was impacted is to immediately help those in need, but every day the news is reporting how slow the aid is coming. This causes people to want to donate quickly. Unfortunately, there are other people who see this tragedy as a way to make a quick dollar. Here is one scam I have already found in my research:
One of the first things you should wonder is how “Andrew” got your email address since you don’t know him. Also, if “Andrew” is a reporter, would there by all the grammatical and punctuation mistakes? Another thing that is off is that you are supposed to send money through Western Union via Andrew’s personal email address. No legitimate charity works this way. All charities are registered and you can find that list here. Most likely if you were to send him money, it would not be going to help the Philippines but into someone’s pocket which is impossible for authorities to track. Luckily this email did not contain any attachments or links to click on, because those would probably have led to a virus being downloaded onto your computer
I can’t stress enough to always do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the history of the charity. Look for charities that have a proven track record with disaster relief. Instead of giving a general donation amount to the charity, you can ask that your money go specifically to the disaster relief of Typhoon Haiyan. One sure way to avoid being scammed is to never give money over the phone, it will be impossible to tell where the money is actually going. If you do think you are being scammed, you can report it to the toll-free NCDF hotline at 866-720-5721. This hotline is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the purpose of reporting suspected scams in the aftermath of disasters. If you get any emails that you are unsure about, let me know on Twitter @Cbyron11.
If you’re interested in helping the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, here are a few places you can do so:
- Philippine Red Cross: deploying rescue teams to the affected areas of the country.
- UN World Food Programme: helping families and children have nutritious food
- Oxfam: deploying water and sanitation materials
- UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency): emergency airlift of tents, sheets, water containers, cooking utensils and solar lanterns.
- HelpAge: relief for the elderly’s most urgent needs