Beware of scammers

POLK COUNTY — When crisis strikes, many want to reach into their pockets to help with relief. Unfortunately, scammers know how to take advantage of that charity.

“Disasters that attract national attention are often used by scammers to create fake charities and crowdfunding campaigns to rip off people who want to support a worthy cause,” said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in a press release.

Red flags to look for to know you’re being duped by a bogus charity:

• Do not give out personal information such as credit card or bank account numbers over the phone.

• Checks should always be made payable to the organization, not the person collecting the donation.

• Beware of callers who want money fast. No legitimate organization will insist you donate immediately.

• Do not donate cash. Don’t send contributions with a “runner,” by wire, or overnight parcel pick-up service.

• Be cautious before giving to individuals raising money through crowdfunding websites. You cannot be sure that your gift will be used as intended, plus donations to individuals are not tax deductible.

• Be sure you are contributing to a legitimate organization registered with the Oregon Department of Justice by searching the department’s online database: www.doj.state.or.us/charitable-activities, or call 971-673-1880.

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