January 14, 2010 – Pittsburgh, PA – In the wake of the earthquake disaster in Haiti, Americans are donating via text message more than ever before. The BBB of Western Pennsylvania advises donors that giving through text can be a safe and easy way to give—but you should still use caution.
Within days following the disaster in Haiti, it was widely reported that more than $3 million was donated through text message to such organizations as the Red Cross and others.
“It’s encouraging that people are making small donations through text messages,” said Warren King, President of the BBB of Western PA. “An incredible amount of money has already been collected via text messages, but a lot more will be needed. Donors should still do their due diligence to make sure their money is going to trustworthy charities.”
The BBB of Western PA offers the following tips on giving through text messages:
- Confirm the number directly with the source. While the BBB of Western PA has not yet heard of any scams relying on text message donations, this emerging method for donating is ripe for exploitation by scammers.
- Be aware that text donations are not immediate. Depending on the text message service used by the charity, text donations can take anywhere from 30-90 days to be transferred to the designated charity. If you would like the donation to be received immediately by the charity, you can give online through the charity Web site, by calling the charity directly or by sending a check in the mail.
- Review the fine print. When you give to a charity through text message, you might also be signing yourself up to receive text message updates from the charity in the future. A charity should include the details of its text campaign on its Web site so you can see what you’re signing up for and how you can opt out.
- Research the charity. Giving wisely to a charity isn’t just about making sure that the solicitation isn’t coming from scammers. Wise donors make sure their donations are going to charities that are best equipped to help in the relief efforts and will responsibly use the money for its intended purpose.
The BBB has compiled a list of charities which are seeking to provide assistance in response to the earthquake in Haiti and meet BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.
For more information or to schedule an interview with the BBB of Western Pennsylvania, contact Warren King at 412-456-2735.
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About the BBB BBB is an unbiased organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint
and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 128 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about the BBB.