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Scammers looking to take advantage of people helping with natural-disaster relief

FactFinder 12 Investigators: Don't Fall For It
FactFinder 12 Investigators: Don't Fall For It(kwch)
Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 4:00 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - From wildfires in the west to strong wind storms in the Midwest and a powerful hurricane in the south, several disasters in recent weeks leave thousands across the nation in need of assistance and support. With that comes an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of goodwill.

Monday, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued a warning for Kansans to be on the lookout for scam artists seeking to profit from the generosity of others. He said Kansans who may be considering to storm or wildfire relief efforts need to make sure they are donating to a reputable charity and to specify that a charity uses donations for intended purposes.

“When natural disasters strike, generous Kansans offer to help,” Schmidt said. “But please donate wisely to established, legitimate disaster-relief charities.”

Tips for donating, to avoid being scammed:

  • Make donations to established organizations with a strong track record of organizing and providing disaster relief.
  • Be careful with social media efforts to fundraise for storm and fire victims.
  • Initiate the donation yourself, rather than responding to online or phone solicitations. If you wish to make a donation online, go directly to the charity’s website; don’t just click a link to an unknown site.
  • Avoid door-to-door solicitors or offers from charities to stop by a consumer’s home to pick up a check. These too could be fraudulent.
  • Do not fall prey to high-pressure pitches from solicitors. Legitimate charities allow you time to think about how much — and when — you choose to donate.
  • Be wary of charities that ask for alternate forms of payment. Legitimate charities rarely if ever ask you to give by wire transfer, gift card or other non-traditional methods.
  • Before giving, check out the charity at www.kscharitycheck.org to assess whether it is registered to solicit in Kansas and to see important aspects of its financial filings, including how much of any money you give will be spent on the charity’s overhead expenses rather than going to support the charitable purpose, such as disaster-relief efforts. However, some charities are exempt by law from registration.

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