‘Scammers do take advantage of disaster’ How to avoid being scammed

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Last week’s deadly Maui fires have caused thousands of people to lose everything. People and organizations alike have been stepping up to help those in need. However, the disaster has led to the rise of scammers trying to take advantage of both the victims of the fires and those who wish to help.

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“Scammers do take advantage of disaster situations. They take advantage of people’s generosity,” Melanie Mcgovern a spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau told News Center 7′s Xavier Hershovitz.

The BBB is reminding people to do their research to make sure their money reaches the people who need it most, and not into the wrong hands. Avoid requests for personal information or unusual payment methods.

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“Be wary of any kind of emotional appeal that is demanding that you give right away. Reputable charities will always give you time to do your homework,” Mcgovern said.

While non-profits like “Maui Mutual Aid” are getting donations from all over the world, Oahu’s “Aloha First” is partnering with A-W-S Disaster Response and is working to bring necessities directly to the victims.

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In order to avoid being scammed and make sure that your donations are going towards helping those affected by the fires, the BBB recommends donating to organizations that are already on the islands doing disaster relief.

“How are you going to get the items to the disaster zone? So, it’s really important to make sure that that charity has a presence in Hawaii. They’re able to get there easily,” Mcgovern said.

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