JEFFERSON CITY - Tragedies like the EF-5 tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma creates opportunities for aid and charitable donations. With an increase in donations, there are certain steps you can take to avoid scams.
Dave Griffith, Executive Director of the Heart of Missouri Chapter of the American Red Cross, said to check with the Attorney Generals Office or the Better Business Bureau to verify a charity's legitimacy and see if any complaints have been filed.
Griffith gives a few tips to avoid scams:
- Ask the name of the chartity that is asking for donations
- Ask for the address and where it is located
- Ask if the charity has a website and familiarize yourself with the webpage
Griffith said to be wary of telemarketers calling for donations. The American Red Cross will only contact people who have previously donated through the Red Cross.
"If you have somebody, a telemarketer, calling you on the phone and they're being very pushy and very high pressure, my recommendation to you is to hang up," Griffith said. "We don't do business that way and every not-for-profit I've been associated with does not do business that way."
Griffith recommends to those interested in donating to not give out personal information like banking information over the phone and to charity's going door-to-door.
"Most legitimate organizations are not going to be sending people out in the field to go door-to-door to collect money, so just resist that temptation."