Attorney General Beau Biden is encouraging Delawareans to take several steps to protect against scams related to the tornado that recently devastated parts of Oklahoma.
Scammers have a long track record of trying to benefit from tragedies. Last week in New York City, prosecutors charged a Bronx woman with fraudulently posing as the aunt of a victim of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The woman is accused of seeking donations through Facebook, phone calls and text messages to fund a funeral for the victim she claimed to have been her nephew.
To protect against scammers, Biden and his Consumer Protection Unit recommend the following tips:
- Make sure a charity is legitimate by visiting the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org, Charity Navigator at www.charitynavigator.org, or the American Institute of Philanthropy at www.charitywatch.org to view lists of verified charities. Ensure that the solicitation website and the purported charity match and that the website is secure.
- Hang up on aggressive cold callers and delete unsolicited e-mail.
- Ask whether a donation is tax-deductible. Donors have a right to know how funds are used and are entitled to ask questions and get answers about the charity that will be receiving the money.
- Avoid clicking on links received via email or online pop-ups and do not provide any personal information to anyone who may make fraudulent solicitation attempts.
- Do not give cash donations and do not supply credit card numbers or other personal financial information. Donations should be paid by check, making the payment out to the charity's full name. Avoid using initials or abbreviations in making out the check and do not make it payable to anyone except the legitimate charity.
Page 2 of 2 - Suspected scams or suspicious solicitations should be reported immediately by calling the attorney general's toll-free Consumer Hotline at (800) 220-5424 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.