Natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides, hurricanes, earthquake – and more – are all making headlines the days. And behind the scenes, scammers are quietly preying on the victims and those anxious to help them.
In fact, the Federal Trade Commission – the nation’s consumer protection agency – warns that scams frequently follow disasters. According to the FTC, legitimate charities frequently face competition from swindlers who either collect for a nonexistent charity – or are dishonest about how their “charity” will use the money. Warning for Consumers
The latest event to generate scams is the massive landslide in western Washington state, which sent a surge of wet earth into the outskirts of the tiny town of Oso – killing at least 20 and displacing many more. CNN Report on Washington Landslide
As a result, the FTC, along with Bob Ferguson, Washington state attorney general, have urged consumers to be wary of swindlers who may try to take advantage of this tragedy. “It is a natural instinct to want to provide assistance right away,” said Attorney General Ferguson, “but … I advise potential donors to exercise caution and make sure their hard-earned dollars go for the purpose intended, not to line the pockets of scam artists.” How To Help
If you’re asked to make a charitable donation to aid those in disaster-affected areas, the FTC recommends doing some serious research to make sure your donations are going to a reputable organization.
Following are some simple tips Disaster Tips to circumvent scams in the wake of disaster: