Attorney General Drummond urges charity fraud awareness in wake of punishing storms

Wednesday, 01 May 2024 15:25

Attorney General Drummond urges charity fraud awareness in wake of punishing storms Featured

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OKLAHOMA CITY (May 1, 2024) – As communities statewide recover from widespread storm damage, Attorney General Gentner Drummond is encouraging Oklahoma residents to be on the lookout for charity fraud. The weeks following a natural disaster are a common time for charity fraud to occur.

“It’s important for Oklahomans to stay on alert against scammers looking to take advantage of those wanting to help,” Drummond said. “In Oklahoma, we are rightly known for helping our neighbors and lending a hand to those in need. Before making a donation to help, do your research and make sure your gift is going to a legitimate cause.”

Charity fraud can occur through social media platforms, emails, phone calls and other methods. The best ways to avoid charity scams include:

  • Research the charity to make sure it offers true charitable programs and services and check to see if it is authorized to receive tax-exempt donations. Resources include the IRS, Oklahoma Secretary of State’s Office, the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance and Guidestar.
  • Beware of any charity that appears to have been created recently and does not have much publicly available information.
  • If you get donation requests via email or text, never click on links or open attachments unless you know who sent the message. Messages could be phishing attempts to gain your personal information.  If you are interested in donating to the charity who contacted you, visit the organization’s website for giving options.  
  • Exercise diligence when giving money to a charitable cause or a charitable organization through a crowdfunding platform such as GoFundMe. Crowdfunding campaigns can be set up by anyone and are not limited to charities. Obtain information on who the campaign organizer is; if you don’t know the person or entity, research them further.   

Drummond said anyone who violates the law by operating a scam charity is subject to legal consequences. Report suspected charity fraud to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at 1-833-681-1895 or consumerprotection@oag.ok.gov.

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