OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter is urging Oklahomans to use caution and to carefully research charities before making a donation to benefit individuals impacted by the recent wildfires.
Attorney General Hunter said the assistance through charitable giving and donations provided by Oklahomans after a disaster is crucial in the course of recovery.
“By nature, Oklahomans are giving people who want nothing more than to help their neighbors in a time of need,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Unfortunately, fraud inevitably follows disasters, which is why I am urging Oklahomans to use caution and research organizations and charities claiming to be providing aid to victims of wildfires. By thoroughly vetting each organization, or by only giving to familiar charities, individuals looking to help can avoid becoming victims themselves.”
Charities looking to solicit donations in Oklahoma must be registered through the Secretary of State. A list of registered charities is available on the Secretary of State's website at: www.sos.ok.gov/charity/.
Additionally, the attorney general’s consumer protection unit offers the following guidelines to avoid becoming a victim of charity fraud:
- Do not give through social media or crowdfunding websites. These are often unregulated and difficult to track;
- Do not give cash, credit or debit card numbers;
- Write a check payable to the charity, not an individual;
- 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.
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 consumer protection unit at (405) 521-2029, local law enforcement or the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721.
For today's Fire Situation Report from the Oklahoma Forestry Services, click here: https://bit.ly/2F3yZnQ.