MILWAUKEE — A number of charitable organizations are working to help those impacted by the earthquakes in Puerto Rico.

In some instances, groups have been working in Puerto Rico since Maria struck two years ago. BBB Wise Giving Alliance recommends contributing to experienced organizations that meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, particularly in the wake of disasters.

Last Tuesday, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Puerto Rico, which already was struggling to rebuild after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017. This has resulted in widespread structural damage to buildings and initial power outages.

There also were reports that some did not have water service. While power has been restored to most areas, Puerto Rico still is receiving significant aftershocks, including a significant quake that took place this past Saturday. As reported in the New York Times, Tuesday’s earthquake resulted in an estimated $110 million in damages.

Newly established charitable entities might be well-intentioned, but might not have the skills and infrastructure to provide immediate help. Visit Give.org to access reports on these and other charities.

In regard to postings appearing on crowdfunding sites, BBB WGA cautions potential contributors carefully to consider the site’s terms and procedures to find out whether there has been any vetting of posted requests, if the posts clearly describe the intended use for funds, and what processing fees might be subtracted by the site when donations are made.

Also, don’t assume pictures of victims appearing in a posted request are used with permission of the respective families.

United States-based charities. There are a number of U.S.-based charities that are accepting funding to address the earthquake in Puerto Rico. In the following list, the first link connects with a page on the charities website that describes its activities in Puerto Rico, the second links directly to a report that shows the charity is BBB Accredited (i.e., meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability).

American Red Cross (a BBB Accredited Charity).

Americares (a BBB Accredited Charity).

Direct Relief (a BBB Accredited Charity).

GlobalGiving (a BBB Accredited Charity).

Heart to Heart International (a BBB Accredited Charity).

Hispanic Federation (a BBB Accredited Charity).

International Medical Corps (a BBB Accredited Charity).

Islamic Relief USA (a BBB Accredited Charity).

Mercy Corps (a BBB Accredited Charity).

Salvation Army (a BBB Accredited Charity).

Save the Children (a BBB Accredited Charity).

United Methodist Committee on Relief (a BBB Accredited Charity).

Canadian-based charities: If considering donating to a Canadian-based charity, there is a list of Registered Charities provided by the Government of Canada. While the registration with this government agency does not mean the government is recommending or endorsing the charity, it does signify that the group has filed the appropriate paperwork with this agency.

For more information on charitable donations, visit BBB Wise Giving Alliance and see BBB Tip: Charitable Giving After a Tragedy or Natural Disaster.

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin, (414) 847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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