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Don’t be scammed in an effort to help

Tragedies bring out the best and the worst in people. Don’t be duped. Stick with the charities you know. If you don’t, not only will you get ripped off, but legitimate charities won’t get the money they need to help.

To avoid being scammed, look to organizations with familiar names. The San Diego Chapter of the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and Rescue Task Force are a few reliable aid organizations with recognizable names. There are many more.

Other things to remember: Unless you contacted the organization, never give out personal information either on the phone or on-line. If you’re in doubt about the legitimacy of an organization, check them out on the internet to make sure the information they give you matches information on the organization’s official Website. Or in the case of a telephone solicitation, ask for a phone number to call them back.

Charities have fundraising and administrative costs so be wary of any claims that 100 percent of your donation will assist relief victims.

A couple of great resources where you can find reputable and safe Websites for donations are Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau.

Also remember - most relief organizations cannot accept food, clothing, toys, etc. The best and fastest way to get aid to those who need it is with a monetary donation. That way, the many charities on location in Haiti can purchase what is truly needed.