Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Beware Haiti earthquake scams, says Charity Commission

Earthquake survivor drinks juice from bag
Help has been slow to get through to survivors in Haiti

Criminals are using online scams in a bid to steal donations made to help those affected by the earthquake in Haiti, regulators have warned.

Fraudsters have set up fictitious appeal websites or are falsely using the names of genuine charities, says the Charity Commission.

UK residents have donated millions of pounds to the genuine appeal for rescue and rebuilding funding.

Natural disasters are now regularly followed by online scams.


The Commission, which regulates charities in England and Wales, has outlined a checklist for people who want to ensure their donation is going to a reputable appeal. It includes:

  • Taking care when responding to e-mails or clicking to online links
  • Double-checking a charity on the commission's register, found on its website
  • Visiting a charity's website if people want to donate online.

The main Haiti appeal is being run by the Disasters and Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group of 13 major UK-based charities.

People in the UK have already donated more than £15m to the appeal.

Earlier in the week, concerns were raised that unusual spending habits coinciding with giving to good causes could increase the chances of donations being blocked by card providers.

Anyone who is affected should contact the relevant bank, which will immediately release any genuine charity payments.

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