Avoid being scammed in times of crisis

Avoid being scammed in times of crisis

After the Napa area recovering from Sunday's earthquake, many people want to help out by offering donations.
After the Napa area recovering from Sunday's earthquake, many people want to help out by offering donations. 

We visited the Better Business Bureau in Fresno, they tell us anytime there's a disaster like this one people are targeted, they're being asked for their money. We sat down with them to find out how you can avoid being a target.

When you see or hear the word donate you want to help especially after a disaster like the Napa earthquake.

Cindy Dudley of the Better Business Bureau says be careful. "Whenever there is a disaster charities will crop up thinking they can skim victims."

One reported in Napa is, victims are being targeted by people posing as contractors trying to help rebuild then disappear, and the work is never done. Here in the valley they try to get your money through the phone.

Dudley says before you write that check or say yes the central valley community needs to do their homework. "Find out who is helping aid the program on a local basis."

Dudley says before you donate money or send supplies check the reputation. "If they're a charitable organization you have to be registered with the IRS."

We asked the BBB what you need to look out for. "Usually unsolicited calls are a red flag," said Dudley.

You may get an email and text notifications and well-known organizations calling you that American Red Cross for example, Jessica Piffero from the local Red Cross want people to know they never call for donations. "It's very good to use commonsense ask follow-up questions."
So if you receive a call hang-up. "Never give your financial information over the phone," said Dudley.

Piffero says if you want to give it's best to call or go directly to a local chapter in times of crisis.

If you want to check on a local charity we can help you navigate, on the front page of our website: www.yourcentralvalley.com and click featured links, Disaster
Scams.




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