The Federal Trade Commission warns against donating to charities and organizations that spring up suddenly in response to current events and natural disasters. While such organizations are not necessarily fraudulent, the FTC notes that they are unlikely to have the infrastructure in place to get donations to the area or people most in need in the wake of a disaster or other unforeseen event. The period immediately following a natural disaster can make donors especially vulnerable to con artists who commit charitable fraud. As a result, it's important that prospective donors fully vet a charity before donating, and only make donations via personal check or a secure website. Cash donations and wire transfers should never be made, as such donations are difficult to trace should donors discover they have been victimized by charitable fraud. Learn more about safe donation practices and charitable fraud at www.consumer.ftc.gov.