FTC Warns Consumers: Beware of Typhoon Haiyan Charity Scams

Tips are also available in Tagalog language

Tips for Consumers

In the wake of the devastating typhoon that struck the Philippines, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, reminds consumers that scams often follow disasters.  If you’re asked to make a charitable donation to help people in disaster-affected areas, before you give, be sure your donations are going to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.

Unfortunately, legitimate charities face competition from scammers who either collect for a charity that doesn’t exist or aren't honest about how their “charity” will use the money you give.  Like legitimate charities, they might appeal for donations in person, by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or on social networking sites.  For more on the questions to ask and for a list of groups that can help you research a charity, go to Charity Scams.

If you’re asked to make a charitable donation to support victims of the typhoon, remember:

  • Donate to charities you know and trust. Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events, like a natural disaster.
  • Ask if a caller is a paid fundraiser, who they work for, and what percentage of your donation goes to the charity and to the fundraiser. If you don’t get a clear answer — or if you don’t like the answer you get — consider donating to a different organization.

Read the FTC’s How to Help Victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, also available in Tagalog, Paano Matutulungan ang mga Biktima ng Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) sa Pilipinas.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.  To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).  The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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