BBB: Donate your money wisely to natural disaster relief

With wildfires still burning and flooding a problem in Hawaii, many people may be wondering how they can help those affected. Better Business Bureau's Veronica Craker shares tips for donating your money wisely.

"Take the time to check out the charity. You don't want to waste your generosity by donating to a questionable or poorly managed effort. The first request for a donation may not be the best choice. Be proactive and find trusted charities that are providing assistance," Craker said.

Craker also says to understand how your donation will be used first.

"Watch out for vague appeals that don’t identify the intended use of funds. Donors often assume that funds collected quickly in the wake of a tragedy will be spent just as quickly. See if the request identifies when the collected funds will be used," Craker explained.

According to BBB, you can find BBB accredited charities online at www.give.org. Additionally, you may want to check for government registration.

"Most states require charities to register with a state government agency before they solicit for charitable gifts. If the charity is not registered, that may be a significant red flag," Craker added.

It's also important to be cautious while donating online. 

"Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails. These may take you to a lookalike website where you will be asked to provide personal financial information or to click on something that downloads harmful malware into your computer. Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs or other social media have already been vetted," Craker said.

For more information, visit www.bbb.org.

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