OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter today is warning Oklahomans of charity fraud and other scams in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Attorney General Hunter said the work of charitable organizations is key to the recovery process after a disaster. However, some see it as an opportunity to run scam operations asking for money the victims never see.
“As the tragedy on the Gulf Coast continues to unfold, I know Oklahomans will step up to help in a multitude of ways, like we see after all disasters,” Attorney General Hunter said. “I am urging individuals looking to donate money to use caution and research to ensure a charity is registered to solicit in the state to avoid becoming the victim of a charity scam.”
Before donating, Attorney General Hunter said one of the easiest ways to find out if a charity is registered is to look it up on the secretary of state’s website at: www.sos.ok.gov/charity/, or by calling (405) 521-3912. Charities looking to solicit donations in Oklahoma must be registered through the secretary of state.
Additionally, the attorney general’s consumer protection unit offers the following guidelines to avoid becoming a victim of charity fraud.
- Donate only to charities that you know and trust;
- Be wary of charities that seem to have been formed specifically in response to a particular disaster;
- Ask for written information regarding the solicitor’s charity, including the name, mission, administrative costs and how your donation will be used;
- Listen carefully to the name of the purported charity. Scam artists often claim to be associated with a charity that mimics the name of a well-known, reputable organization;
- Be suspicious of any solicitor that uses high pressure or aggressive tactics, asks for donations in cash or promises prizes in exchange for a donation.
For more information and tips on how to select a charity, visit www.charitywatch.org. To report suspected fraud or scams, contact the attorney general’s public protection unit at (405) 521-2029 and local law enforcement.