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Sending Aid for Ida: Beware of Scams Amidst Disaster Relief
WCS News Alert
On Sunday, August 29th, Hurricane Ida made landfall on the Gulf Coast. When the sun emerged again on Monday, it made heartbreakingly apparent the devastation caused by flooding and wind, and the realities of an entire city left without power in the summer heat.
Seeing the tragedies unfold on our screens and hearing stories of unfathomable tests of human grit may compel you to aid those impacted. Amidst the struggle to rebuild lies an unfortunate threat to the good-intentioned giver, though. Scammers often take advantage of the confusion of disasters, tricking donors through the urgency of relief needs.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides insight on how to spot charity scams, and how to avoid them. Some tips include:
- Pay by credit card or check when you can, as scammers usually opt for payment means by gift cards or cash.
- In addition, check your credit card statements to ensure you opted for a one-time donation, and not recurring.
- Head to the organization’s website or do an internet search before sending any money.
- Beware of fake charity names that sound similar to larger companies.
- Vagueness in the description of their work or the use of your donation is a red flag.
- Scammers are often pushy.
Keep in mind, in non-emergency situations, you can also donate your time. If you offer this and the person soliciting donations backpedals, fails to provide further info, or disappears, you may want to dig deeper. Suspicious organizations can be reported to the FTC, and Ida-specific scams can be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.
You can research the validity of charities through online checkers like CharityWatch and BBB Wise Giving Alliance. If an organization claims that your donation is tax deductible, you can confirm through the IRS website’s Tax-Exempt Organization Search Tool.
If you do wish to donate to Ida victims through financial means, here is a list of reputable organizations with aid going directly to Ida relief:
CNN Impact Your World – Aid Hurricane Ida Victims
CNN has paired with Public Good to create a donation platform dispersing contributions to 17 organizations on the ground in the Gulf Coast states.
“Our emergency response teams are on the ground helping survivors and communities affected by Hurricane Ida on the Gulf Coast and by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti. From sending medications and medical supplies to activating volunteers and local health workers to overwhelmed hospitals, your gift today means Project HOPE can respond quickly and save lives as soon as disaster strikes.”
World Central Kitchen
“WCK uses the power of food to nourish communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond. When disaster strikes, WCK’s Chef Relief Team mobilizes to the front lines with the urgency of now to start cooking and provide meals to people in need.” They are currently in New Orleans providing hot meals, with intentions of expanding into other areas of Louisiana.
Imagine Water Works
“Our core focus areas are climate justice, water management, and disaster readiness and response. Knowing that the best solutions are multidisciplinary, we integrate science, history, identity, and art into our work.” They are currently sponsoring an online power map where community members can see where to charge up their devices.
Another Gulf is Possible
“We will distribute goods and donations directly to indigenous, black, and brown frontline folks impacted by Hurricane Ida and groups who currently don’t have online donations capacity, as well as directly to individual families impacted by the storm.”
All Hands and Hearts
Focused on the rebuilding of schools, homes, and community infrastructure. “On multiple fronts, we are prepared to respond immediately to Hurricane Ida and launch a program of volunteers and staff to support the impacts. We anticipate the initial need to include chainsaw work, roof tarping, mucking and gutting, and mold sanitizing.”
”Your donation to the Hurricane Ida Relief Fund will provide emergency aid like food, water, medicine, and shelter to impacted communities. Once immediate needs are met, this fund will provide long-term assistance, with a focus on local organizations. All donations to this fund will exclusively support communities and first responders impacted by Hurricane Ida.”
Helping misplaced pets, caring for animals that were unable to be evacuated in time, and providing cool down shelters for pets and their owners.
Verified GoFundMe Campaigns
Addressing everything from general relief assistance to individual families in need of additional aid.
Want more? Visit the Weekly Wright Report page to browse past issues.