Not surprisingly, the Flint water crisis has brought out the best and worst of us. There are many good people who have donated money and time in order to ease the crisis in Flint. At the same time, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, the lowlifes in our society are once again, attempting to take advantage of our good nature. The Better Business Bureau of Southeast Michigan along with the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Michigan has issued warnings regarding Flint’s water crisis. Whenever there is a crisis, low life’s start putting up websites with horrific stories and pictures attempting to solicit contributions. Unfortunately, the money is not going to help the people in Flint but rather, it’s going directly into these lowlifes’ pockets.
In addition to wanting to rip you off financially, what many of these thieves are attempting to do is also steal your sensitive financial information. It is events such as the water crisis in Flint that bring these lowlifes out of the woodwork. As a result, once again, it’s up to you and I to protect ourselves. We have to recognize that in every crisis people look to take advantage of our good nature and that is why we have to be so cautious when trusting someone with our sensitive financial information.
There is no 100 percent way to protect yourself from the thieves; however, there are things that you can do that will significantly reduce the chances of being ripped off. First, I never respond to phone solicitations. If someone contacts me for a cause that I support, I still wouldn’t respond to a phone solicitation. I may ask them to send me some information, but that would be it. I would never give my charge card information to someone conducting a phone solicitation. I know that many legitimate charities use phone solicitations however, even if I know the charity is legitimate, to protect myself, I still won’t give pursuant to a phone solicitation.
If I receive an email, at most, I will read the email but I will not open any of the attachments or link directly to anything from that email. Once again, if it’s a cause I’m interested in, I would type their website address directly onto my browser, not open the link provided in the email.
Before I give to any charity, I do my homework to make sure they are legitimate. In addition, even if they are legitimate I want to ensure they are spending their money wisely. Many legitimate charities spend way too much money on marketing as opposed to their charitable purpose. That is why I always believe you need to independently review a charity. Some websites that you can look at to review a charity are www.charitynavigator.org and www.give.org..
Helping those in need is the American way. Americans are the most charitable people on earth and the entire world knows that. The entire world also knows that all too often many Americans think with their heart first and thus, the crooks look to exploit that. The scam artists are coming from every corner of the world and there is nothing we can do to prevent them from putting up the bogus websites, sending us tear-jerking emails or calling us. However, we can make it difficult for them to take advantage of us and that’s something we should all strive to accomplish.