Hurricane Dorian has finally moved out of the Bahamas, leaving devastation for several areas, and concerns are growing for the residents who have been left to pick up the pieces.
As many people look to donate to charities, it can be difficult to determine if their money or donated items are going to the right place.
Before giving to a charity or third-party agency like a GoFundMe page, you want to make sure to do your homework, according to Lora Rae Anderson, of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.
“You should visit an organization's website and then visit supplemental websites like Charity Navigator or GuideStar that can give you some background information about the charity,” said Anderson. “If you want to give to a local charity or you're thinking of giving more money, make sure you do your research before giving.”
Anderson said there are a few things to remember if you’re looking to make a donation in Connecticut.
“If a charity is soliciting in the state of Connecticut, that charity has to be registered with the Department of Consumer Protection,” said Anderson. “You can verify that registration by visiting elicense.ct.gov.”
You also want to be cautious for those who are seeking you out.
“If someone calls you asking for money for hurricane relief, ask them a couple questions. One, what’s your website? What’s your phone number? What’s your email and where can I go for more information?” Anderson said. “You want to ask a couple of questions to the person who is calling about where your money is going to go.”
If you are not getting straight answers to questions that you are asking, you are likely dealing with someone who is not legitimate, according to Anderson.
“If somebody calls you asking for money, that’s the first red flag that that may be a scam,” said Anderson.
The DCP recommends taking your time before making a donation to a charitable cause. You are also recommended to make a yearly budget before making a charitable donation.
“Hurricanes affect people for a very long time. If you wait a week, or two weeks, that’s OK,” said Anderson. “It’s better to do your research on the front end to make sure your money is going to a great place.”