Experts warn of donation scams after the Oklahoma tornado

Experts warn of donation scams after the Oklahoma tornado

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Mid-Missourians donating money to help those affected by tragedies like the Oklahoma tornadoes can fall victim to scammers.

Experts say one of the most common ways to donate is through digital and online sources, and donors need to be careful where they send their money.

"Any time there is a natural disaster, the scammers seem to come out of the woodwork," said Mike Odneal of the Better Business Bureau.

For those using their pocketbooks, they should err on the side of caution.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, a Twitter account claimed it was raising funds for victims. That claim turned out to be false.

It's scams like those that donors need to be aware of.

It's often better for donors to stick to well-known organizations like the American Red Cross.

The executive director of central Missouri's Red Cross chapter, David Griffith, says as impersonal as it may seem, the best way to help victims is as simple as signing your name.

"The Red Cross relies on the generosity of our donors," said Griffith. "We receive no funding from the government so the way we get money to help others is by folks sending in checks."

"Don't assume that if something looks legitimate is legitimate, a lot of sites and things can look very convincing but in actuality they are very well-orchestrated scams in some cases," Odneal said.

Experts say taking the extra time to research any charity and asking questions like, "where is the money going to be spent?" can keep a smart donor from becoming a victim.

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