Avoid falling victim to relief fund scams - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Avoid falling victim to relief fund scams

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In the wake of Isaac, many people are making donations to help hurricane victims, but before you send your money, the North Alabama Better Business Bureau is warning people to make sure they're not falling victim to a scam.

There are several things you can do to make sure your donation ends up in the right hands.

If you want to donate to a charity online, go directly to its web site to make your contribution.

Also, be cautious when choosing a charity. The best way to find a legitimate one is to visit the Better Business Bureau for a list of accredited organizations.

Lastly, be wary of charities that claim 100 percent of donations go to victims. That's virtually impossible, since most groups have administrative expenses.

Also in the wake of a disaster, new organizations and web sites pop up to help victims. Many of them have the right intentions but don't have the proper means.

To make sure your money goes where you want it to go, there are a few things you should find out about the charity first.

Does it have an on-the-ground presence in the area impacted? If it doesn't already, it might be tough to get new workers there to provide assistance.

Next, check if the charity is providing direct aid. If it's raising money for other groups instead, you might want to consider avoiding the middleman.

Lastly, if you are giving donations other than money, make sure the organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute these items properly.

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