Scam artists may strike after Superstorm Sandy
Donating to storm victims? Here are ways to protect yourself.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – While some are going out of victims who are still reeling from Superstorm Sandy, others are preying on the charitable with crimes of opportunity. They are scam artists trying to make a quick buck when disaster strikes.
Nick LaFleur, a spokesperson for the local BBB, said opportunists predictably strike during or after disaster.
“Anytime we see some sort of natural disaster or any sort of tragedy, we unfortunately get a lot of scam artists trying to exploit it,” LaFleur told 9 On Your Side.
So what are some ways you can protect yourself when you’re making charitable donations?
- beware of organizations with copycat names, similar to reputable ones
- know that websites for legitimate organizations usually end in .org rather than .com
- avoid links, attachments and pleas from unknown sources via social media
- research your charity of choice and call them directly
- don’t give cash or wire money; instead pay be credit card or write checks to the organization (rather than the individual)
- do not give out your personal or financial information
- stick to established charities that have the manpower and resources to help storm victims now
You can always help in other ways.
“People can donate blood or platelets. Fourteen states were affected by the storm. We had to cancel 300 blood drives, resulting in 9,000 units of blood and platelets that we were not able to collect,” said Debra Deininger, the Communications Manager at the American Red Cross Services.
Deininger also added that people can make financial donations to the Red Cross, specifying a local chapter or a specific disaster.