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Beware of tornado charity scams

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AG Geraghty Joins BBB in Warning of Bogus Charities

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Anchorage, Alaska – May 24, 2013 – In the wake of the massive tornados that touched down in Oklahoma this week, Better Business Bureau and the Alaska Attorney General’s Office are warning of opportunistic fraudsters. Cons follow the headlines and can easily create bogus charities under the guise of helping victims.

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“We are saddened by the extraordinary devastation of this tornado,” said Michelle Tabler, Alaska Regional Manager of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “Compassionate givers will be looking for ways to make a difference, but without proper research those well-intentioned donations can easily end up in the wrong hands.”

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Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty joins BBB in cautioning donors to exercise restraint before sending money.

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“Our hearts go out to the people of Oklahoma, and I know many Alaskans will be moved to help,” said Attorney General Michael Geraghty.  “Unfortunately, charity scams often follow these types of disasters.  I urge donors to give wisely and make sure their contributions to the recovery effort are going to legitimate organizations that will use the money responsibly.”

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BBB and the Attorney General advise consumers to be mindful of certain red flags before making donations. 

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.

Make sure that charities are qualified to provide the type of disaster relief that is necessary.

Avoid cash donations. Write a check directly to the charity, not the fundraiser.

Never give out credit card numbers over the phone.

Be wary of “new” charities with unverifiable background information.

Watch out for solicitations from fake “victim” or memorial social media accounts.

Don’t be fooled by a name. Be watchful of charities that use sympathetic sounding names or names similar to well-known legitimate charities.

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Better Business Bureau and the Alaska Attorney General advise consumers to contact potential charities directly. For more information on finding charities, visit BBB’s Charity Review and reference Alaska’s complete list of registered charities. For additional information on safe donating, checkalaska.bbb.org/charity and law.alaska.gov/charities.



BBB press release