Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Zealand Earthquake

Earlier this week, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit New Zealand. The damage to buildings, homes and infrastructure is centered in and around the city of Christchurch. Reports indicated that around 75 people perished as a result of this disaster.

Although many people are asking us how they can support the relief and recovery efforts, we’re hearing that New Zealand’s government isn’t appealing for assistance. Some charities have even posted such messages on their own websites.

We are also hearing that scams are popping up in an attempt to profit off of our desire to help. So please keep in mind our tips for donating in a crisis such as:



  • Be Careful Of Email Solicitations:

    • Be Leery Of People That Contact You Online Claiming To Be A Victim – Unless you personally know someone in New Zealand, anyone alleging to be in this position is most likely part of a scam. Obviously, people affected by the earthquake are in no position to contact you directly for assistance.

    • Delete Unsolicited Emails With Attachments - Never respond to unsolicited emails. Do not open any attachments to these emails even if they claim to contain pictures from New Zealand. These attachments are probably viruses.


  • Seek Out The Charity’s Authorized Website: Each charity’s ratings page on Charity Navigator includes a link to is legitimate website.

  • Be Inspired By Social Media, But Still Do Your Homework: Social networking tools like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs have the power to deliver heart-wrenching images and information about the earthquake to our computers and phones with pleas to donate. While these tools can be a powerful way to inspire your desire to help, you should not blindly give via these vehicles. You must take the time to investigate the groups behind such pleas for help to ensure that it comes from a legitimate nonprofit.

  • Avoid Telemarketers: As always, hang up the phone do your homework and give directly to a charity.

Finally, for those that really want to donate, we did learn of one charity, ShelterBox, that is responding to this disaster. If we learn of others, then we will post that on this blog and our site.

Photos provided by Shutterstock.com.

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