5 tips to avoid getting scammed while donating to Hurricane Matthew Haiti relief

As the Carolinas begins to pick up the pieces after Hurricane Matthew, scammers are sure to be out in full force.

While the damage from Hurricane Matthew is reaching into the billions on dollars, the death toll in Haiti continues to climb.

When NBC Charlotte first started reporting on the devastation after the hurricane, a lot of viewers wanted to know how they could help, but protect themselves from getting ripped off. 

NBC Charlotte went to the experts to see the top 5 things you can do to donate safely:

1. Don't be taken in by the emotion.

Financial planner Tom Lowry says that scam artists will want donors to give on the spot. "They want your credit card information, so be leery," he said. "Real charities are just as willing to take your money tomorrow as they are today."

2. Take your time when deciding where you'll donate.

There are a lot of charitable organizations out there, including crowd-funding sites on the Internet. Lowry said to be especially wary of sites like those, where not everyone is who they claim to be.

3. Make sure you're giving to the right one.

"Pay attention to scam similarities," Lowry said. "The scam artists will make it look like it's a big charitable organization and the name will look similar. So look to make sure the charity you're donating to." 

4. Ask for a Form 990.

A lot of people on social media asked how they could tell if a charity is legit. Lowry said that answer is easy.

"The 990 is a form every charity has to fill out for the IRS. If they can't come up with that 990, guess what, they're not a charity," he said.

5. Do the math.

Donors also wanted to know which charity would do the most good. Lowry suggested asking about their operating costs, and how much money is going directly to disaster relief.

"You want 80% of that money going to the charity at least," he said.

(© 2016 WXIA)


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