Beware of Charity Rip-Offs Following Oregon Wildfires
August 07, 2014

With relief efforts underway in Oregon’s Rowena Fire, the Better Business Bureau is urging consumers to be on the lookout for bogus charities and scammers trying to capitalize on a natural disaster.

Officials warn of slick con artists who pose as agents for official-sounding charities and target well-intentioned donors who want only to help the victims of the fires.

While BBB sympathizes with the victims and their loved ones during this tragic time, it also urges donors to give wisely.

  1. Beware of demanding solicitors. Don’t give in to high-pressure tactics and requests for immediate donations. Take time to research the charity and make up your mind.
  2. Use qualified charities. Check to see if the charity has the resources necessary and is equipped to help with disaster relief; otherwise, donations may be not be as effective.
  3. Pay with care. Avoid cash donations; write a check directly to the charity, not the fundraiser; and never give out credit card numbers over the phone.
  4. Verify. Steer clear of “pop-up” charities with unverifiable background and contact information.
  5. Block fake solicitations. Watch out for requests from fake “victims” or memorial social media accounts.

Better Business Bureau advises consumers to contact potential charities directly. For more information on finding charities, visit BBB.org or Give.org, a website run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington is one of 112 in North America and the largest BBB by geographical service area. BBB is a neutral not-for-profit public reporting agency committed to trust in the marketplace. For more information on ethical business standards and BBB Accreditation, or to access free BBB Business Reviews, Charity Reviews, scam alerts or find local event information, contact BBB or visit bbb.org.