Sweet Bluesette: Helping Japan - Caveat Donator!: "A lot of wonderful people want to help Japan recover from the earthquake/tsunami disaster we have experienced. Before you do, make sure yo..."
Give, but give carefully. My gosh, there are some evil people in the world. Pandabonium tells about a scam he's already seeing. Fortunately, he also gives a link to a very good article about how to make sure your donation is used for the purpose for which you intended it to be used (including a list of the recognized good guys).
Good advice for today and forever.
Hm - note, slightly later - I just looked at Amazon.com and they do have a "Give to the Red Cross" banner on their site, which does let you donate through the Amazon payment system. I'm not quite sure why one would give to the Red Cross through Amazon instead of just directly, but this one may not be an actual scam. Still, doing a little research before you give is still VERY good advice. It's not even just about avoiding scams - some perfectly well-intentioned efforts may just not be well-organized. Using Charity Navigator or the BBB charity ratings can help sort out the best organizations to give to - the article Pandabonium links to give a nice easy-to-read list.
additional note, later still - Pandabonium clarified things a bit (and I realize I also may have been reading too fast as I was about to leave for work when I saw it) - it wasn't the giving to the Red Cross through Amazon he was questioning - it was a specific type of comment where a link led to an article, which gave a second link to a page that LOOKED LIKE the Amazon payment site...and there's the rub, in this day of instant web publishing, a seamy, scheme-y schmuck could easily create a copy of the Amazon payment page, link it straight to their personal bank account...go phish. Pandabonium's warning wasn't "don't give through Amazon", it was "if you want to give through Amazon take the split second it will take to type "www.amazon.com" into the browser so you KNOW you're landing on the legitimate Amazon site.
It's so infuriating that warnings like that are even necessary - but like Dan Kim said over on my Facebook page, "Unfortunately, there are a lot of scum out there that try to profit from tragedies and disasters like this." Sad, but so true.