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Help out Haiti

By Gerri Willis, CNN personal finance editor

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Up to 3 million people may have been affected by the earthquake in Haiti. For those of you who want to help -- here's where you can donate.

For a complete list of where to go, check out check out cnn.com/impact.

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Here are some examples of where you can donate:

  • CARE Can be reached at 1-800-521-CARE or care.org.
  • You can also give to the American Red Cross at 1-800-REDCROSS or redcross.org.
  • Mercy Corp already has emergency teams deployed. Their number 888-256-1900.
  • And UNICEF has a special page set up so you can donate to the children of Haiti at 1-800 for Kids or unicefUSA.org.
Give to a legitimate charity

Like we saw after Hurricane Katrina, there were a lot of scam artists out there trying to take advantage of people's generosity. BE on the lookout.

Some scam Web sites will have the look and feel of a legitimate organization -- so make sure you visit the charity's Web site to make sure they're detailing their assistance efforts. Unless the charity already has staff on the ground in Haiti, it may be difficult to get new aid workers to quickly provide assistance. See if the charity's Web site clearly describes what they can do to address immediate needs.

Scammers will often insert keywords, like Haiti or earthquake into their sites to trick you into thinking you're legit and to boost their results in search engine queries.

Be wary of claims that 100% of donations will assist victims. Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will incur a processing fee.

As time goes on, there will be more opportunities to give to different causes. You can match your needs and personal causes with specific charity.

Twitter and Facebook solicitations are really hard to vet, so unless you know it's a legitimate organization, avoid it.

You can research the charity you're interested in at Guidestar.org or check out the charity ratings at CharityNavigator.org.

-- CNN's Jen Haley contributed to this article.

Talkback: Are you planning on donating? To top of page

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