By Tim Jimenez
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Many people may be inspired to give as they see pictures or video of typhoon ravaged parts of the Philippines. But good intentions may go bad with scammers looking to make an easy buck.
Images of Filipino children looking for something to eat or drink, stories of fathers having their kids swept away from their hands. They tug at the heartstrings and many open up their wallets for charity. And so, a word of caution.
“You need to be a little bit careful,” warns Sandra Miniutti with Charity Navigator.org. “Be inspired with your heart, but use your head and think before you give.”
Miniutti says natural disasters brings out good will and those who look to take advantage of it. Best bet, she says, is to do your homework before you give.
“This is certainly not an easy task to complete,” Miniutti says. “You want to go with a large relief organization that either has operated in this part of the world before or has provided this type of relief before.”
Charity Navigator, a non-profit itself, rates other organizations and breaks down how your money is spent.
Miniutti says during Hurricane Katrina, 4,000 bogus websites popped up, and now with social media, it’s even easier to get scammed and more important to have a critical eye.