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AARP AARP States Oklahoma Community

Fake Charity Scams Boom Amid Natural Disaster Recovery

Avoiding Charity Scams

As Oklahomans recover from recent severe weather damage, AARP Oklahoma wants to help you steer clear of lurking scam artists. Fake charities pop up quickly in the aftermath of a natural disaster or weather emergency, and these scammers jump at the opportunity to exploit our sense of wanting to help.

How it works:

  • Scammers use the same techniques as trusted charities to reach you – in person, by mail, over the phone, online, by text, or by e-mail, so be mindful across all of these methods.
  • The name of the fake charity may closely resemble the name of a real charity.
  • The fake charity might ask you to wire money or give cash – see this as a red flag.

What you should know:

  • Real charities need your support, and they, like us, lose out when a scammer intervenes.
  • Scammers will put pressure on you to act quickly, before you have a chance to think through your decision or do any research.

What you should do:

  • Most people don’t research charities before they donate. But it’s easy to do – check out charities at or before giving any money.
  • If you are approached in person, ask for identification and details about the charity, including its full name and address, and how they will use the funds. If the person can’t furnish this information, close your door or walk away.
  • The Federal Trade Commission suggests making an annual donation plan to list out which causes you will support and which reputable charities will receive your money.

If you suspect that you’ve been targeted by a disaster-related scam, report it. Contact the Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit HERE or by calling 1-833-681-1895.

For free help from AARP, call the AARP Fraud Watch HelpLine, 1-877-908-3360 (toll-free), or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network HERE. AARP’s Fraud Watch Network Helpline is a free resource for AARP members and nonmembers alike. Trained fraud specialists and volunteers field thousands of calls each month. Get guidance you can trust, free of judgment.

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