Stop the scam donations to Japan - and make a real one - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Stop the scam donations to Japan - and make a real one

By Annette Falconer –bio|email

Thousands of earthquake victims in Japan are in great need, and already, many non-profit organizations are gathering funds to help. But East Texans need to be cautious about where they give their money.

Over the last five days we have all seen pictures and videos of the effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Most feel the desire to help the victims in whatever way they can.

Mechele Mills, with The Better Business Bureau says, "There are two things you can count on when a natural disaster happens, you can count on the generosity of the community, the generosity of Americans to want to help, and you can also count on those people who are going to come out of the wood work, and take advantage of your generosity."

Tammy Prater, the Executive Director of Red Cross in Smith County, says they ask donators to specify on the check where they want their donation to go. She said, "Just tell us, this is for Earthquake victims, tsunami victims, in Japan. That designation will ensure that donation is, targeted and sent on forward to the Japanese Red Cross for use of relief efforts."

American Red Cross forwards the money straight to Japan, and the Japanese Red Cross uses your donations to help the earthquake victims.

Prater says, "They are providing blankets, and food and sheltering a great number, hundreds and thousands of people are being sheltered in Japan right now."

Mills says East Texans have to be extra careful, because big hearts can get you in big trouble.

"In our little community, we are more trusting than other areas of the country, and so this area is targeted quite a bit," says Mills.

East Texans can trust local aid organizations like Red Cross and Salvation Army with their monetary donations. You can donate money online to the American Red Cross, or the Salvation Army.

Copyright 2011 KLTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly