BBB warns people to confirm organizations before donating to Afghanistan refugees

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WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- It's a warning that could save your time and money. Scammers will steal your money. 

When disaster or devastation strikes, it's an opportunity for scammers to pick your pockets. They will use tragedy to set up websites so people will think they're donating to a good cause.

"Scammers will try to intercept your money where you think the money is going directly to the Afghan people and it is not," Lisa Schiller said. She is the director of investigations and media relations with the Better Business Bureau Wisconsin.

She says do some research on the organization that peaks your interest. Look up its programs and finances. It's also best to confirm if it meets BBB charity standards.

"We evaluate charities and make sure they are vetted," Schiller said. 

Scammers will even trick you by titling their organization the same as a legit company.

"Watch out for charity name confusion, be alert to questionable groups seeking to confuse donors with a similar name."

Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan continue to encourage people to stay on guard. Giving to scammers pulls money from real organizations, like them. 

"I cannot overemphasize the importance of a cash donation, because that helps us build up cash reserves to actually serve great numbers of people when they do come," Mary Flynn said. She is a program manager.

Schiller says you should also never feel forced to give.

"We want people to resist pressure to give on the spot, don't make any any quick decisions."

If you do fall victim to a scam, report it to the BBB website immediately. Be sure to report as much information as you can. 



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