The Tej Kohli Foundation Warns Against Relief Scams

Jan 18, 2010, 10:53 ET from Tej Kohli Foundation

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kohli Foundation, founded in 2005 by Tej Kohli, a noted entrepreneur from Costa Rica, urges people to help provide immediate relief for the Haitian earthquake by making donations, but only through legitimate organizations such as the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund (Clintonbushhaitifund.org) and the American Red Cross. The foundation is concerned about recent evidence of fraudulent pitches for disaster assistance. Also avoid the text and SMS forms of donations. While there appears to be no fraud in sending money through these means, it can take up to 90 days before the funds reach the end source through intermediaries.

Approximately 2 million people live in the capital of Haiti and the surrounding areas where the earthquake struck. The American Red Cross is now estimating that 3 million people are affected by the disaster, with reports of terrible destruction, widespread chaos and overcrowded hospitals. The Tej Kohli foundation feels that it is incumbent upon each of us to give, however little, to those affected.

"This is a tragedy of epic proportions that has affected millions of people in ways very few of us can imagine." says Kohli. "Unfortunately, with these kinds of catastrophes, there is always the possibility of a secondary tragedy, and that is relief scams."

The foundation is stressing the importance of following the FBI's recent advisory, which includes:

-- Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, and do not click any links contained within those messages.

-- Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.

-- Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources.

-- Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.

-- Choosing the right organization such as the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and the American Red Cross will ensure the money gets to Haiti, already one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. These organizations have well- organized distribution systems that can immediately deliver aid.

The Tej Kohli Foundation is a non-profit organization striving to improve the lives of impoverished children. With the cooperation of more than 50 volunteers, the foundation started in Costa Rica, where it worked to reduce illiteracy and poverty. They are currently planning to launch several health and education projects in India, especially in the slum areas. The foundation runs on the belief that the desire to help others, regardless of your background and circumstances, is a basic human drive, which when harnessed correctly, can provide inestimable benefits to those who receive it.

SOURCE Tej Kohli Foundation