Not All Tsunami Charities Legit

In the wake of such a tragic disaster as the Indian Ocean tsunami that has swept across Indonesia, Somalia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Seychelles. It is a heartfelt wish to help in any way we can. While the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other self-sacrificing relief efforts came forward immediately, of course so did the opportunists.

While it is sad that we must factor this in as something almost expected or typical, it doesn?t mean we have to fall victim to it. This article will outline the ways you can hopefully avoid becoming one of the unfortunate whose hard-earned money goes into the pocket of some person wanting to take advantage of a situation of catastrophic proportions.

Everywhere you go these days, on the TV, radio and even the world wide web, you will see pleas to ?donate now? to help the tsunami relief efforts. And for those who wish to help, this is simply a way to make sure what you?re handing over is going to go where you truly want it to.

First and foremost, the institutions safest to handle your donations would be banks and recognized charitable organizations. The Red Cross, Unicef and major banks.

In a ripple effect, other charities are benefiting from the sudden flux of generosity, such as Oxfam Canada and World Vision. Such incidences of sudden mass donating can perpetuate interest and the education of other emergencies world wide. However, in contrast, one Canadian charity voiced concern that the focus on the tsunami relief effort may divert funds from local charities also in need.

Some tips to keep you educated on some bogus charities and their practices, are as follows:

Get as many facts as you can about both the solicitor and charity, including exact name, address and telephone number. Commercial fund-raisers and charities are required to register with the Government of Canada and must produce a registration number upon your request. A complete list of registered charities is available at

Should you be solicited in person, ask to see organization identification. If solicited by telephone, ask to be mailed information about the charity?s purpose, goals and finances before making any donation.

Don?t be fooled by names that sound impressive or closely resemble the name of a familiar organization. There have been cases where phony organizations boldly use law enforcement names.

Unless it is a highly recognized organization, never give cash. Make cheques out to the charitable organization, not the person asking for the donations. Never give your credit card number.

Don?t accept any offers sending a messenger to your home to pick up your contribution.

A few things you are entitled to know are how your money will be used, how much money will go to be charity and whether the solicitor is being paid. If you ask how much of your money will go to the charity, the solicitor is required by law to give you the information.

Across Canada there are over 78.000 charities registered. If you suspect a phony charity, do not give them your money in any form. To check a federally registered charity , contact Canada Revenue Agency-Charities Dictorate at 1-800-267-2384, or visit the website at For other registered charities, you may check with the Better Business Bureau?s Charity Review Program.