Donations have poured in since the tornado in Joplin, Mo. and the surrounding area on May 22. Some of the donations haven’t reached those who need help, however, because there are those who take advantage of others in their time of need.
Scam artists often surface when there’s a natural disaster such as the tornados that ripped through the central portion of the U.S. in late May. Consumers have to become more educated on how to fend off scam artists, and learn to understand charity fraud, contractor scams, identity theft and price gouging.
First of all, if someone asks you for a donation to a charity but denies a request for written information about the charity, it’s a huge red flag. This is often the first sign of a scam artist.
Unless you have contacted a specific organization that you want to give money to, don’t give money over the phone. You can’t be sure of the person at the other end of that line, and you don’t really know for what purpose they are requesting your personal or financial information. It’s best to stick with organizations that are well known, like the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse or United Way.
To give through the Red Cross, go online at https://american.redcross.org/site/Donation2?idb=0&df_id=4993&4993.donation=form1, or call 1-800-REDCROSS. You can also text RED CROSS to 40999.
To give through the United Way, you can go online to www.liveunited.org/give.
To give through Samaritan’s Purse, go online at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/mb/pray_for_missouri/. You can also call 1-800-528-1980.