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BBB urges people to do their homework before donating to a charity after a tragedy or disaster

Posted at 4:45 PM, Jan 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 19:16:40-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Images of pain and suffering after wildfires in Australia and other disasters around the world are heart wrenching. It’s natural for people to want to help.

“You wonder what you can do,” said Helen Olson from Tucson.

But for every major disaster and tragedy around the world there are scammers ready to prey on people's emotions and generosity.

The Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is warning people to do their homework before donating to a charity.

“Scammers will profit and pray off your emotions that is the easiest way to for them to get their money,” said BBB Spokesperson Irene Manzanedo.

Manzanedo says making any donations it's a good idea to check give.org for charity ratings and to verify if a charity meets BBB standards for charitable accountability. She also warns you might not want to believe every sad story you read on a crowdfunding website.

“The crowdfunding, the gogundme's,” said Manzanedo. “The viability that they have been fully vetted is something to consider.”

People we talked to say they try to protect themselves by donating only to local organizations they trust, and by never clicking on links sent to them in an email or social media.

“They have to be careful on the internet, technology is good and bad,” said Olson