Give cautiously in wake of Typhoon Haiyan disaster

Alaska Attorney General teams with BBB to help donors avoid scams

In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, email scams which solicit the wiring of money to stranded victims in the Philippines are surfacing. Better Business Bureau and the Alaska Attorney General warn willing donors to give cautiously over the next few weeks.

“Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones in this devastating storm,” says Tyler Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “However, it’s important for donors to understand that not all pleas for help are legitimate.”

“I urge Alaskans who want to donate to Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts to verify that they are dealing with legitimate, reputable organizations that will use their donations as intended,” says Attorney General Michael Geraghty.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance advises donors to take proactive steps to avoid being ripped-off by questionable solicitors or wasting money on poorly-managed relief efforts.

Don’t donate based on names. Avoid organizations that include the name of the storm or disaster—as they may have just been founded and have little experience or are simply trying to take advantage of highly-visible news coverage.

Be wary of digital appeals. Before responding to online or social media solicitations, independently check background and contact information; don’t assume that charities have been vetted just because they are recommended by websites, friends or family members.

Avoid donating the wrong goods or products. Sending non-essential items could be a wasted effort and slow down the relief process; be sure to verify which items are needed and the specific distribution plans that are in place. Some organizations may only accept clothing and goods from locations close to the disaster zone to avoid freight costs.

Steer clear of inexperienced relief efforts. Inexperienced charities will likely hamper assistance and divert funds from other helpful organizations.

Research before donating. Before responding to emails or social media posts soliciting money, check out organizations at to verify accountability standards.

Good intentions aren’t enough to carry out relief activities effectively; charities should be transparent, accountable and well-managed.

Check the Alaska Department of Law’s Charity & Paid Solicitors page at for fundraising laws or to verify that charities are registered to solicit donations in Alaska. Also, check the BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s Standards for Charity Accountability.

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