Milwaukee, Wis., May 21, 2013 – The lives lost and homes destroyed by Monday’s tornado in Oklahoma have prompted an outpouring of sympathy – and the potential for scammers to prey on those who would like to help.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has tips to help donors evaluate charities that may be able to provide aid to grieving families and support for the community as they move toward recovery from the tornado.
“Our hearts go out to the families affected by this disaster,” said Randall Hoth, BBB President and CEO. “Unfortunately, scammers often try to capitalize on events that capture the hearts of people who want to respond to a tragedy like this. The BBB can help donors avoid scams and find trustworthy charities.”
The BBB encourages donors to look for the BBB Accredited Charity seal on a charity’s website or other literature. If the seal is there, donors can be assured that the charity complies with the BBB’s 20 Standards of Charity Accountability. If it doesn’t have the seal, look for the charity’s BBB Charity Review at wisconsin.bbb.org/charity.
Donors also should be suspicious of unsolicited emails, text messages or phone calls that ask for donations related to the disaster or another specific event, such as a hurricane or earthquake. Don’t click on links in emails unless you are able to verify that it comes from a legitimate charity.
The BBB has tips that can help you make sure your donation will be used appropriately:
The BBB urges donors to seek professional advice if they are in doubt about the deductibility of contributions. Other helpful tips for making donations are posted on the BBB website (www.bbb.org). The IRS website (www.irs.gov) has information on the deductibility of donations.