(BIRMINGHAM, AL) - Doing your part to help the survivors after the devastation in Japan, could result in you becoming a victim of crime.
As more and more organizations begin to set up relief efforts, folks are urged to be careful.
David Smitherman, President of the Better Business Bureau of Central Alabama, says watch out for scam artists.
He says if you're not familiar with the organization soliciting donations, ask questions.
"Who are they, who is on the board, what do they do with the goods they are soliciting. If they won't give the information or they don't know, then that's a big red flag," said Smitherman. "They could set up road blocks on the street asking for money for Japan. They could be standing in front of a store, you don't know who these people are. They could be legitimate but you don't know."
Smitherman says the best advice to avoid a scam and be assured that you're helping someone in need is to give to a known, reputable organization.
The Salvation Army and American Red Cross are taking monetary donations to send to Japan.
Salvation Army is not accepting clothes, food or water because it's too expensive to ship those things and it would take too long for the items to get to the disaster areas.
You can donate money through the Salvation Army by phone at 1-800-sal-army or online at www.donate.salvationarmyusa.org