How to help hurricane victims without getting scammed

Avoiding scams after Michael

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It’s natural to want to help victims from Hurricane Michael, especially after seeing videos and photos of the destruction, but you need to make sure you don’t become the victim.

Unfortunately, this happens every time a natural disaster makes the news. Scam artists see it as an opportunity to create a fake website and send out emails, or get people on social media to donate to their charity that literally popped up overnight.

David Smitherman, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau, says you should always research the charity name to make sure it’s legitimate, see how far back their history goes and see if they have a plan for getting the items to the victims. The easiest thing is to go with the charities you already know like the Red Cross or the Salvation Army.

“Go to BBB.org or Give.org, which is our charity arm, but then also Google it, and if you can’t find anything anywhere, then that may be a clue that this may not be a charity you want to donate to,” said Smitherman.

Smitherman says it’s better to donate than to drive down there yourself if you want to help out. You never know if the interstate is closed along the way - and once you get there, getting around all the debris might be tricky. He says it’s better if you just leave that to the first responders.

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