Be aware of scammers trying to profit from Haiti donations

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's an unthinkable situation --- the sheer chaos and uncertainty of an earthquake's aftermath.

Many have pledged to help, donating money, through charitable organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

However, there are those out there, hoping to prey on that generosity.

Leonard Crain, President of the local Better Business Bureau says to be careful.

"After every natural disaster, the cons pretty much come out from under the rocks. And it's a shame, but it's true. If they are successful, they eventually steal from those who would like to donate and they also steal from the victims," Crain said.

The Better Business Bureau has a few tips that you should follow.

Number one, never do anything over the phone.

Be very aware of anyone asking you for a credit card number, without backing it up with something in writing.

Number two, always research the charitable organization you are going to give to.

And number three, be very wary of online organizations, e-mails and websites that ask you to contribute.

Rumors also spread quickly in the wake of a natural disaster.

Captain Art Fultz of the Salvation Army has already heard...

"That the UPS was supplying free shipment of in-kind donations that people were collecting, packing up food or clothing or whatever, bottled water, that UPS was going to ship it for free. That simply is not the case," Fultz said.

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