Avoid Joplin Scams

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COLUMBIA - Joplin is overwhelmed with physical donations, so many agencies are suggesting monetary donations to help with tornado relief. But Attorney General Chris Koster and Columbia Police said Missourians should be careful about donating.

Koster said to be wary of people wanting cash on-the-spot, and use a credit card when possible so there is a record of the donation. People wanting to donate can use the Check-a-Charity feature on the Attorney General's website to see more information on the organization collecting donations.

Officer Latisha Stroer of the Columbia Police Department said you should:

  • Beware when callers won't take "no" for an answer and keep changing the donation amount.
  • Give to a charity you are familiary with.
  • Never wire money to someone you are not close with.

Koster's office said it is safe to donate through organizations already on the ground in Joplin, like the Red Cross or the Salvation Army.

Tim Rich, Executive Director of the Heart of Missouri United Way, said they are working with the Joplin area United Way chapter to make sure the money people have donated goes to tornado victims. Rich said they ensure the money is used correctly by working with agencies located in Joplin.

To report a scam, call the Attorney General's Office Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or the Columbia Police Department.