Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Beware of Scam Charities Popping Up


While the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12th has lead to an outpouring of support from many well meaning individuals, it is important for us to note that unfortunately, crisis situations also bring out the worst in some people.

For example, even before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, criminals were setting up websites that included the keyword Katrina (such as www.katrinahelp.com and www.katrinarelief.com) in an effort to collect money and personal information. In the weeks following the devastating storm, the FBI reported that it had identified over 4,000 bogus websites that were attempting to capitalize on the goodwill of generous Americans.

While we have no official word that the following websites are not legitimate, we do wonder about the fact that the domain names were registered today, not even one full day after the earthquake:

haiti-earthquake.org
haitianearthquakefund.org
haitiearthquake.org
haitiearthquakefund.org
haitiearthquakerelief.org
haitiearthquakerelief2010.org

While we understand that people are driven to help victims of the Haiti earthquake, we strongly suggest that you do your due diligence and make sure that the organizations asking for your support are legitimate. Of course, one way to do so is by checking to see if the organizations have been vetted by Charity Navigator’s analyst team, and are in fact providing relief in the stricken area. Our evolving list of organizations doing just that can be found by clicking here.

4 comments :

marc said...

can someone please do some research about Wyclef Jean and Yele Haiti?

Yele and its predecessor the Wyclef Jean Foundation don't have any public documents showing how they spend their funds or the percentage of funds that go to administrative costs. The last public IRS 990 for the Wyclef Jean Foundation is dated 2000. There is no information on this organization at Guidestar or the Better Business Bureau's Give.org. That gives me pause.

marc said...

According to tax forms filed by the Yéle foundation, 73 percent of the organizations funding went to its programs in 2007, the last year for which data is available. The group put 65 percent and 61 percent of its revenues toward programs in 2006 and 2005, respectively. In contrast, roughly a quarter of the group’s funds went toward administrative and fundraising costs during 2006 and 2007. Over 40 percent of Yele’s 2006 expenditures were eaten up by administration and fund-raising appeals. Yéle did not respond to an e-mail message seeking comment.

Anne said...

The Smoking Gun is investigating:
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2010/0114102wyclef1.html?link=rssfeed

Adam Clagg said...

Article about Christian relief efforts:

http://www.examiner.com/x-33858-Chattanooga-Christianity-Examiner~y2010m1d15-Free-Will-Baptists-to-Assist-Relief-Efforts-in-Haiti