HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) -- Firefighters continue to battle flames in Australia as millions of acres are on fire. Thousands of people have evacuated their homes and more than a billion animals have died.
Many people around the world are turning to their wallets to help out. Elizabeth Garcia, the President and CEO of the North Alabama Better Business Bureau, says money is often the most needed thing in large disasters.
Garcia says another common trend with large international disasters is scammers trying to take advantage of people’s best interests.
She said there are several different ways scammers might look to take advantage of someone.
“If you get a call out of the blue by a third party claiming to be a national organization or an organization from Australia or overseas, you need to be very cautious," Garcia said. "Number one, you don’t know who that truly is on the other side of the line and it could be someone just trying to take your money that would never go to the cause.”
Garcia said another way is right in your inbox or text messages.
“If you receive emails or texts messages that claim to be from an established organization that say, ‘Donate now! Click here to donate 10, 50 100 dollars, whatever.’ Again you can’t be sure that that’s going to that organization," Garcia said.
She said it’s best to just be very cautions when donating by making sure the organization is legit and your money is going to be used for exactly what you want it to be used for.
Garcia said one way to check is by looking the Alabama Secretary of State’s website, if a company is legit they will be registered on there. Garcia says if an organization wants to get money from people it has to be registered on that state’s Secretary of State’s website.
“It’s best to look up the organization you want to donate to online through a trusted resource or trusted link, find out what you need to do and donate through those means," she said.
If you want to donate to help the people and animals in Australia here is a list of reputable organizations.
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