Staten Island Commercial Bank Echoes FTC Advice

On Avoiding Ebola-Related Charity Scams

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The Federal Trade Commission is educating consumers about protecting against charity scams related to Ebola.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the unprecedented Ebola epidemic in West Africa has taken the lives of more than 4,000 people. Many people are asking how they can help.

If you’re looking for a way to give, Victory State Bank urges you follow the advice of the FTCL: Do some research to ensure that your donation will go to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.

If you’re asked to make a charitable donation, consider these tips from the FTC:

 

Donate to charities you know and trust.

You want to find a charity with a proven track record. The CDC Foundation, a nonprofit organization established by Congress, has a Global Disaster Response Fund that supports the CDC’s work in West Africa.

 

Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events.

 “Look alike” websites resembling legitimate charitable organizations and international aid efforts are popping up. Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, GuideStar, IRS Select Check, or Foundation Center.

 

Ask if a caller is a paid fundraiser, who they work for, and what percentage of your donation goes to the charity and to the fundraiser.

If you don’t get a clear answer — or if you don’t like the answer you get — consider donating to a different organization.

 

Don’t give out financial information — including your credit card or bank account number — unless you know the charity is reputable.

 

Never click on links or open attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it is.

Opening attachments — even in emails that seem to be from friends or family — can install malware on your computer.

Verify the origins of any email or text messages soliciting donations for Ebola aid efforts.

  

Don’t assume that charity messages posted on social media are legitimate or have been vetted.

Research the charitable organization yourself.

 

When texting to donate, first confirm the number with the source.

The charge will show up on your mobile phone bill, but be aware that text donations are not immediate. Depending on the text message service used by the charity, it can take as much as 90 days for the charity to receive the funds.

 

Never send cash.

You can’t be sure the organization will receive your donation, and you won’t have a record for tax purposes.

 

Think about how you want your donation used, and make sure that the charity you choose engages in those activities.

For example, do you want your donation to support research, direct patient aid, aid in a specific country, providing medical supplies to caregivers, or helping orphans? If your charity of choice engages in multiple programs, consider designating your gift for the program you want to support. By designating your gift, you’ll ensure that your donation will be used as you intended.

 

Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting your state attorney general or secretary of state.

You can find a link to that office at the National Association of State Charity Officials.

 

 

About Victory State Bank

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQB: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank.  For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online at www.victorystatebank.com.

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