Helping Japan - Caveat Donator!

A lot of wonderful people want to help Japan recover from the earthquake/tsunami disaster we have experienced. Before you do, make sure you aren't being scammed, and then make sure that your donation gets spent where you intend.

Scam alert:

I recently stumbled across what I suspect is a big scam. "People" leave comments on news stories about the earthquake, or on stories listing charities to donate to, saying that they have "donated $100 to the American Red Cross" through Amazon.com. The comment also contains the url for a website which posts an article copied from the American Red Cross website, and links and banners with the American Red Cross name. They also say "it is safer to give through a name you know, like Amazon" .... Really?

Trouble is, the website url in the comment offers no information about who is running it. All the links - including "about us" and "contact us" take you back to the main article. Worse, the link for donating goes directly to Amazon payments with no intermediate pages, so for all you know, your donation is going to the owner of the bogus website! I did a little sleuthing and have found that this scheme has been used in the past for the Haiti earthquake disaster.

So, if you want to donate to American Red Cross through Amazon, you can do so, but do it by going directly to either Amazon or the American Red Cross website. Do not use a unknown 3rd party website.

Is your donation going to be used to help Japan?

Also, if you want your donation spent on Japan, you have to make sure of it. Many charities, including reputable ones like the American Red Cross, will be asking for donations by reporting on the disaster in Japan. But be advised, that does not mean they will spend your donation on helping Japan.

So, before you give, please read this article at Charity Navigator: Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The article offers advice on making the decision to give, how to avoid scams, and a list of charities that Charity Navigator has analyzed and rated, which will use your donation to directly help the victims of this tragedy.

By all means, help Japan in this time of crisis, but do so wisely.


K and S said...

thanks for this info. I recently gave through PayPal, am hoping that their donation link are legit.

Pandabonium said...

K and S - PayPal is fine, so is Amazon. I re-wrote a couple of lines in the post just now to clarify - what I am warning against is going to a 3rd party website which is unfamiliar to you.


K and S said...

got it :) thank you.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

One project that I think is sensible and useful is the Rotary Shelter Boxes. I'll write it up on the babasiga blog.

Pandabonium said...

Thanks, Wendy!

HappySurfer said...

Thanks for the heads-up, PandaB. Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Or if you live in Tokyo.
You can donate these things.
Tokyo Government accepts: “brand-new or unused”
1)Babies’ goods (cool gel sheets, diapers, wet tissues, baby lotions, baby oil etc.)
2)Elderly people’s goods (diapers, wet sheets for nursing care, thickening agent etc.)
3)Daily goods (contact lens care solutions, hand warmers, sanitary goods, paper cups, wrappers etc.)
4)Drinking water

*They don’t accept food, clothing, or blankets.

Pandabonium said...

Thanks for the info, K!

Martin J Frid said...

K, thanks for this, where can we deliver these items? Directly to City Hall in Shinjuku?

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's at Tocho or Tokyo Metropolitan Office in Shinjuku.
Contact:03-5320-4585 (Call Center)

Robin said...

Thanks for this info. Glad everyone is fine.