Don't get scammed when you give to charities

POSTED: 04:13 PM MST Nov 15, 2013    UPDATED: 09:43 PM MST Nov 15, 2013 
REXBURG, Idaho -

It often starts with a single e-mail, written by a person who claims to be stranded in The Philippines after last week's typhoon, and needs you to help them out with a loan so they can return to the states.

"They don't have access to money for at least seven days, and they're asking you, the e-mail recipient, to respond immediately with a credit card or some kind of payment information,” said Dale Dixon, CEO of the Idaho chapter of the Better Business Bureau.

Dixon says these e-mails have been popping up all over the place in just the last few days.

"It's a scam. Hit delete, don't respond,” Dixon said.

You should also be on the lookout for calls to action claiming to be from legitimate charities. Dixon says even these are sometimes no more than carefully-crafted scams.

"People will pretend to be legitimate charities on a regular basis, and they'll just change the name a little bit. So, for instance, we know and trust the Red Cross. So, they might try and do something like 'Red Cross of Americas in Philippines,'” Dixon said.

Before you give to any charity, always do your homework. Bbb.org offers free charity reports.

The following is a list of charities accredited by the BBB:

This is not an exhaustive list of legitimate charities that are aiding in typhoon relief. If you are considering one not on the list, go to www.give.org.