Wildfires have sparked across the country including the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Western Wyoming. Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest is sending out a warning over the dangers of donating relief funds to the wrong people.
Keep in mind con artists impersonate legitimate entities using materials with borrowed names and logos. Be wary of anyone using these tactics to obtain funds:
- Use of threatening and aggressive tactics or deadlines.
- Only accepts cash donations or checks made out to them personally.
- Can’t explain what kind of relief will be offered, how it will be distributed, who will benefit, when it will be allocated and what percentage of donations benefit causes.
Be wary of cybercriminals who target those looking for news updates and wanting to help. While online, be careful of:
- Search engine results from unknown or untrustworthy websites.
- Unsolicited emails, instant messages and social media posts from unknown senders.
- Videos or news stories with unusual or shocking headlines.
Protect computers, click carefully and guard personal data. Ensure that anti-virus software, security patches and firewalls are installed, active and up-to-date.
Better Business Bureau advises consumers to research a charity before donating money. Consumers can also search for information on BBB.org or Give.org, a website run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
Anyone who feels they are the victim of a scam, should report it to their local law enforcement or with BBB Scam Tracker at www.bbb.org/scamtracker.