BBB warns of tornado donation scams - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

BBB warns of tornado donation scams

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

It's difficult to see the destruction left by the tornados in Oklahoma and not want to lend a helping hand.

But the Salvation Army said at this point in time, it's asking for cash donations only.

"That's the quickest way that we can help those that have been impacted. It's also the best way that we can help infuse some money into that economy," said Major Robert Lloyd with the Salvation Army of Southern Nevada.

Similarly the American Red Cross said to help the Sooner State, cash will help more than blood donations.

"For Oklahoma specifically, we're not looking for blood donations," said Lloyd Ziel, with the American Red Cross of Southern Nevada.

But the Better Business Bureau is warning about scammers who are using those charities and others' names to line their own pockets.

"So don't assume when you're on the phone that oh my gosh, no one could take advantage of these victims, this has to be legitimate," said Katie Robison, with the Better Business Bureau of Southern Nevada.

Robison said the two biggest red flags are first if you're asked to wire transfer donations, it is a scam.

"By wiring your money it makes it virtually impossible to track down where this person or organization actually picked up these funds," Robison said.

Secondly, Robison said scammers will contact you, not the other way around. So remember, when giving to a charity, it's important you make contact first.

"Initiate going to the website, initiate by e-mailing them yourself. Call them yourself," Robison said.

By calling them, charities will tell you their preferred method of payment.

"Bring checks into any of our salvation army thrift stores," said Lloyd.

"The safest way is to go through AmericanRedCross.org," Ziel said.

But both Lloyd and Ziel said the easiest, quickest and safest way is to text your donation in.

Sending the word "Storm" to 80888 gets ten dollars to the Salvation Army, and the word "Red Cross" to 90999 gets the same amount to that charity.

The extra charge will appear on your next phone bill.

If you're not sure about a charity, you can check by going to the Better Business Bureau's webpage.

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