RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Helping the victims of the conflict between Israel and Hamas from afar usually means giving to a charity or organization that can aid those in need. 

However, heartless criminals are using the situation in the Mideast as a way to steal money from you under the impression of helping victims. 

The footage coming out of the war zone is everywhere- whether on TV or social media and it tears at people’s hearts. 

So, it’s only natural that you’d want to donate to a charity to try and help. 

 ”Unfortunately, scammers want to take advantage of the fact that you want to donate and help,” said Meredith Radford of the Better Business Bureau of the Eastern Carolinas

 Right now, the heavy fighting is undermining relief efforts of those organizations who have boots on the ground in the war zone. 

 ”It’s really important to make sure that if you are going to donate, that you donate to a company or an organization that can get to the area, get relief to where you want it to go,” Radford said. 

If you go online and search charities related to the current war, you’ll find listing after listing of groups and organizations that are looking for money. 

You may wonder, how can you determine who is reputable?   

“Google them separately, go online separately, go to their website and confirm that you’re actually donating to the actual organization,” said Radford. “Some scammers will pretend to be organizations that are reputable and well-known and take advantage of that.” 

 Unsolicited phone calls, texts or emails will be used by scammers to ask you to donate—now—creating a sense of urgency. 

 A lot of people will say, I won’t donate money, but I’ll donate water and food and clothing and things like that. 

Radford says that’s problematic. 

“With any tragedy or disaster, there are just people that would rather donate tangible items. It makes them feel better and I totally get that,” she said. “But we don’t always know what that area or that group of people really, truly needs.” 

“The people that do know what they need are the organizations that are in the area that can get access to them,” she said. 

It’s best to donate money. There are several ways to verify charities online.

Websites like the BBB’s GIVE.Org, Charity Watch, and GuideStar allow you to check to see the trustworthiness of the charity that’s soliciting you. 

Radford also says be wary of organizations that say 98% or 100% of the money that you donate is going to be used to help those in need. 

“You always want to be cautious of 100% or close to 100% claims in appeals for donations because charities, organizations like that always have administrative expenses at the very least,” she said.  “They can’t take all of the money that they get donated to them and give it to the cause.” 

 If you don’t have a specific charity in mind—the BBB compiled a list of 10 charities which meet their standards of accountability for aid to those in the war zone. 

These charities are focused on relief efforts in Israel, Gaza or both areas.