IMPORTANT: It's a Serious Matter of Life

Avoid Charity Scams

By: William Sikkens
Host, User Friendly 2.0 Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

In today’s world of modern technology, it’s easier than ever to help the victims of natural disasters.  Recently, our country has endured several fires, floods, and a hurricane.  But it is also just as easy to get scammed, so it’s important to make sure that your donation goes to those you want it to.

Here are some official websites that will assist you in finding legitimate organizations to donate to.

For the California Wildfires:

The State of California offers a Disaster Help Center. You can apply for assistance here.   The site address is https://www.cdss.ca.gov/disaster-help-center.  

To donate to California Wildfire Victims here are some options:

California Community Foundation: https://www.calfund.org/wildfirerecoveryfund/

American Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation.html/ - Use the drop down to select where you want your donation to go.  For a specific area use the “Your Local Red Cross” option.

The Salvation Army: https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/ - Enter a local city name or zip code and click on the “Donate Locally” button.  This is located in the upper right corner of the website.

To donate to the victims of Hurricane Ida:

American Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation.html/ - Use the drop down to select where you want your donation to go.  For a specific area use the “Your Local Red Cross” option should be selected.

The Salvation Army: https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/ - Enter a local city name or zip code and click on the “Donate Locally” button.  This is located in the upper right corner of the website.

There are also many other legitimate organizations.  Charity Navigator is a way to look up most non-profit organizations.  Their site is at https://www.charitynavigator.org/.

Here is some other information to help you avoid charity scams:

  • Avoid unfamiliar agencies and websites. There is a history of scammers creating websites that look like donation pages after a major tragedy, but in reality were a scam.
  • Make sure that where you’re donating is a legitimate organization or a group that has a proven record of delivering aid.
  • Beware of phone calls, text messages, and emails soliciting donations.  This is usually a “red flag”.  If you want to donate to an organization that calls, then don’t do it through that phone call or email.  Go to their website yourself and make sure they are legit. 

William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who along with Jeremy Winkler are the co-hosts of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

Links and brand/store information provided are for information only and are not endorsed by Salem Media Group, KPAM or the show's hosts.  

Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw



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