Beware of Charity Scams: How You Can Help Oklahoma Tornado Rescue Efforts

Red Cross Oklahoma

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the tornado that swept the town of Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20, 2013. Just over a month after the Boston marathon bombings, people all around the nation watched as one of the worst tornadoes in history ravaged Oklahoma. Entire buildings and homes are reduced to a bleak landscape of scraps while forlorn residents scramble about piled up debris, looking for loved ones and what’s left of the lives they knew. Such images of the devastation tug at the heartstrings and the goodhearted readily give up hard-earned dollars, hoping that their monetary contributions will go a long way into the rescue and relief of victims.

Unfortunately, times like these can also bring out the worst in some. According to Oklahoma’s Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt, the first scams after a disaster are usually charity scams. The IRS warns that fraudulent schemes can occur through phone solicitations, social media, email or even in-person.

3VR has rounded up this guide to ensure that you get your donations to the right charities and protect yourself from scam artists.

Give Your Money to Trusted Charities

Red Cross Salvation Army Disaster Relief Oklahoma

Regional Food Bank Oklahoma Operation USA Animal Relief Center Oklahoma

Is A Charity Legit? Check It Out:

Avoid Being A Victim of Charity Scam. Quick Tips:

  • Say “no” to high-pressure appeals. Trusted charities don’t push people to make an immediate contribution.
  • Don’t be fooled by charities with names that sound similar to familiar or nationally known organizations.
  • Don’t give out sensitive personal information, such as Social Security Numbers, Driver’s License number or bank account information.
  • Be wary of donation requests sent via e-mail. Most legitimate charities do not use e-mail for their first solicitation.
  • Do not give to a charity because you were sent a “gift” or just to receive a “free prize.”
  • Get a receipt with the name of the charity and amount given.
  • Don’t give or send cash. Donate by check or credit card instead.
  • Never give to a charity that offers to send a courier or overnight delivery service to collect your donation immediately.

  • Other Ways to Help:

    • Tweet your support by using the trending hashtag #PrayforOklahoma
    • Spread the word in your preferred social networks

    Photo from Red Cross Oklahoma