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It’s summer and we are in the natural disaster season. When disasters happen, giving to a charity is a great way to help those in need. I don’t know about you, but when I give money to a cause, I want to make sure that it’s going where it’s supposed to. 

Criminals take advantage of disasters like hurricanes, fires, and floods. Scammers set up fake relief charities and pocket the money. From Facebook posts and crowdfunding sites to emails and even telephone calls, fake charities can put up a good front to look legit. Here are some tips from the FBI.

Give to known and established organizations. Keep an eye out for copycat “charities.” Double check new aid groups for victims of recent high-profile disasters. Give only by using a check or credit card.

Investigate before you donate! 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has put this video together about this very thing.

Watchdog groups are good for learning about how certain charities are organized and how they use the hard-earned dough you give them. Some of the most recognized groups are:

The FTC wants you to know how to ask good questions and research charities before you give to them.

In general, but especially when donating, always be safe on the web. Just like your momma always told ya to “wash your hands,” security pros say don’t click links or open email attachments from some random “person,” type out links instead of clicking on them, and never give any personal details in response to an email, robocall, or robotext!

For more information, check out these resources on how to detect scams and give wisely: