Jul 072010

fistfull of dollars ecoxplorer nyconthecheapThe good guys are volunteering and working overtime to undo the damage of the BP oil spill, the worst environmental disaster US history.   Beware of  frauds.  The bad guys are out there scamming instead of skimming.

Job Scams — One fraud is asking you to pay up front for a job helping clean up the mess.  Jobs available directly with BP are posted on BP’s website. For jobs through the state, such as Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, you can visit the states’ own job websites. If you have been recruited by a company that claims to have a contract with BP, The Better Business Bureau recommends that you research the business fully and try to confirm with BP that they are a legitimate employer for the oil spill clean up. Simply —  be wary of companies that require you  to pay an upfront fee.

Claim Scam: The FTC warns against phony adjusters who ask for fees to expedite services.  The toll-free BP claims line is 1-800-440-0858. The line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or you can file a claim online through BP’s website. Additionally, there are many claims offices along the Gulf Coast. More information is available through the Deepwater Horizon Response website and on BP’s website.

Charity frauds — It always happens.  After any disaster, the creeps come out of the woodwork to take advantage by setting up phony charities, including with names that sound like — oh, so close — to legitimate, reputable charities.  Before you give, check with charity watchdogs like Charity Navigator and The Better Business Bureau.  Here is a list  of charities that meet BBB Wise Giving standards and are working in the Gulf Coast to help the people, the wildlife and the land itself.

You certainly can find a charity you like on this A-List of good guys —

American Bird Conservancy
Defenders of Wildlife
Ducks Unlimited
Environmental Defense Fund
Friends of the Earth
Greenpeace Fund
International Fund for Animal Welfare
National Audubon Society
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Nature Conservancy

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Give with your heart — but use your head.  Make sure your hard-earned money goes to a reputable, honest charity.

by Evelyn Kanter

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