ALERT: Don't Fall For Tornado Charity Scams; What You Need To Kn - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

ALERT: Don't Fall For Tornado Charity Scams; What You Need To Know

Posted: Updated:
Courtesy: MGN Online Courtesy: MGN Online

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU - In the wake of the massive tornados that touched down in Oklahoma this week, Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Washington State Attorney General's Office (AGO) and the Secretary of State (SOS) are warning of opportunistic fraudsters. Cons follow the headlines and can easily create bogus charities under the guise of helping victims.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by this disaster," said Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. "Everyone wants to do their part to help, but without being careful a meaningful donation can easily end up in the wrong hands."

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson joins the BBB in cautioning donors to exercise restraint before sending money.

"I join the Better Business Bureau in expressing sympathy to the families who've lost loved ones or their homes in this disaster," said Attorney General Bob Ferguson. "I know many share my concerns and want to provide assistance right away—but it is important to exercise caution and make sure your money helps those who truly need it."

Secretary of State Kim Wyman also recommends exercising caution when donating funds.

"Our hearts go out to the families, friends and neighbors of those who died or were injured in the tornado in Oklahoma," said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. "I'm sure that a number of Washingtonians will be stepping forward to contribute to the relief effort and to help the victims of this tragedy. 

"As the Attorney General and I continue to underscore, it is important that donors use their heads, as well as their hearts, in responding. Sadly, there will always be rip-off artists looking to line their pockets, so we urge donors to use caution in making decisions about where to contribute their hard-earned money."

BBB, the AG and SOS advise consumers to be mindful of certain red flags before making donations. 

  1. Be suspicious of solicitors requesting immediate donations. Don't rush decisions and consider contributing at give.org, a website run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
  2. Make sure that charities are qualified to provide the type of disaster relief that is necessary.
  3. Avoid cash donations. Write a check directly to the charity, not the fundraiser.
  4. Never give out credit card numbers over the phone.
  5. Be wary of "new" charities with unverifiable background information.
  6. Watch out for solicitations from fake "victim" or memorial social media accounts.
  7. Don't be fooled by a name. Be watchful of charities that use sympathetic sounding names or names similar to well-known legitimate charities.

The Better Business Bureau, the Washington Attorney General and Secretary of State advise consumers to contact potential charities directly. For more information on finding charities, visit BBB's charity review or the SOS charity lookup. Consumers can also visit the SOS web site for tips on giving wisely.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • LOOKING FOR A HOME? 10 Homes For Sale In Spokane For $125,000

    LOOKING FOR A HOME? 10 Homes For Sale In Spokane For $125,000

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 1:39 PM EDT2014-04-15 17:39:53 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spring is a popular time to purchase and sell a home. Here are 10 homes for sale in Spokane for $125,000. These homes were found on www.WindermereSpokane.com. If you would like more information on any of these homes or would like to schedule a tour, contact your real estate agent with the correct MLS number.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spring is a popular time to purchase and sell a home. Here are 10 homes for sale in Spokane for $125,000. These homes were found on www.WindermereSpokane.com. If you would like more information on any of these homes or would like to schedule a tour, contact your real estate agent with the correct MLS number.>>
  • SPREAD THE NEWS: WSP Looks For Man Charged With 59 Counts Of Sexual Misconduct With Children

    SPREAD THE NEWS: WSP Looks For Man Charged With 59 Counts Of Sexual Misconduct With Children

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 3:59 PM EDT2014-04-16 19:59:12 GMT
    KHQ.COM - The Washington State Patrol’s Criminal Investigation Division has been assisting Minnesota’s Pine County Sheriff’s Office in attempts to locate a subject charged with 59 felony counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct involving two young females.>>
    KHQ.COM - The Washington State Patrol’s Criminal Investigation Division has been assisting Minnesota’s Pine County Sheriff’s Office in attempts to locate a subject charged with 59 felony counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct involving two young females.>>
  • UPDATE: PHOTOS Of Sex Offenders Who Live In Kootenai County

    UPDATE: PHOTOS Of Sex Offenders Who Live In Kootenai County

    Wednesday, February 26 2014 6:50 AM EST2014-02-26 11:50:17 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Do you know who lives next to you, or in your neighborhood? KHQ has teamed up with local law enforcement agencies to keep you updated on sex offenders that may be living close to you. The latest photos are from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office website. All of the offenders have served their time and are not wanted by authorities.>>
    KHQ.COM - Do you know who lives next to you, or in your neighborhood? KHQ has teamed up with local law enforcement agencies to keep you updated on sex offenders that may be living close to you. The latest photos are from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office website.>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • UPDATE: K9 Laslo Still Recovering, Excited To Get Back To Work

    UPDATE: K9 Laslo Still Recovering, Excited To Get Back To Work

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:13 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:13:01 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - The Spokane County Sheriff's Office notified KHQ on Wednesday that K9 Laslo is still recovering after being attacked by another dog on April 7th while responding to a burglary and assault call. >>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - The Spokane County Sheriff's Office notified KHQ on Wednesday that K9 Laslo is still recovering after being attacked by another dog on April 7th while responding to a burglary and assault call. Laslo was actually scheduled for surgery this past Monday, but Deputy Thurman said Laslo's condition significantly improved over the weekend and the surgery was cancelled.>>
  • Man Taken To Hospital After Falling 20 Feet In Post Falls

    Man Taken To Hospital After Falling 20 Feet In Post Falls

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:04 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:04:00 GMT
    POST FALLS, Idaho - One man was taken to the hospital for evaluation after falling about 20 feet while trimming trees in Post Falls on Wednesday. >>
    POST FALLS, Idaho - One man was taken to the hospital for evaluation after falling about 20 feet while trimming trees in Post Falls on Wednesday. KHQ's Gabe Cohen said two men were up trimming a tree on Riverside Place in Post Falls when one of the branches broke off, causing one of the men to fall about 20 feet to the ground. Gabe says the man was moving his arms and legs, and was talking with officials. >>
  • ALERT: WSP Looks For Man Charged With 59 Counts Of Sexual Misconduct With Children

    ALERT: WSP Looks For Man Charged With 59 Counts Of Sexual Misconduct With Children

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 4:50 PM EDT2014-04-16 20:50:51 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Detectives in Minnesota believe a former cult leader who sexually abused young girls is now living in the Spokane Area. WSP is asking that you share any information you have that may lead to his arrest. 52-year-old Victor A. Barnard, was charged with 59 counts of criminal sexual misconduct after detectives say he abused at least two girls.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Detectives in Minnesota believe a former cult leader who sexually abused young girls is now living in the Spokane Area. WSP is asking that you share any information you have that may lead to his arrest. 52-year-old Victor A. Barnard, was charged with 59 counts of criminal sexual misconduct after detectives say he abused at least two girls.>>