Natural disasters tend to bring out the best in many people when it comes to charitable giving.

Unfortunately, they also bring out the worst in scammers wishing to take advantage of that generosity by pretending to be relief organizations and then pocketing the money.

In the aftermath of Japan's most devastating Earthquake to date, the Better Business Bureau has advice for people who want to donate money to relief efforts. They suggests taking your time and doing research before donating money to relief efforts. Here are some tips to consider:

-Make sure the organization you're using is experienced in carrying out relief work in times of disaster.
-Don't give out your credit card information over the phone or in response to a random email solicitation.
-Don't succumb to pressure from anyone to donate "on the spot"
-Be wary of groups who hesitate to provide information on their programs
-Watch out for charities with names that sound like those of well-known relief organizations
-Lastly, make sure the organization gives you a strong idea of where your money is going, and how it will benefit those in need.


The Better Business Bureau's list of reputable relief organizations