The Iowa Attorney General’s office has a warning for Iowans who want to help tornado victims in Moore, Oklahoma. Monday’s tornado killed at least two dozen people and could end up being the most expensive twister in U.S. history as damage is estimated at $2 billion.
Iowa Attorney General’s office spokesperson Geoff Greenwood says, in the wake of such disasters, there are always scam artists looking to take advantage of the situation. “They may cold call you, they may send an unsolicited email, and they may even pop up in social networks,” Greenwood says.
“And they’ll ask for money. They’ll appeal to your emotions and they will make you think that you’re trying to help when all you’re doing is funding criminals.” In some cases, scam artists will use a “sound-alike” organization name. But, Greenwood suggests Iowans stick to donating to familiar, established disaster relief organizations.
“For example, there’s the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and there are church charities that have been around…those are the organizations that we recommend you donate to,” Greenwood says.
While Iowa’s Consumer Protection Division has not received any complaints tied to Oklahoma tornado relief efforts, Greenwood says it’s probably only a matter of time before someone will try to use the tragedy to exploit Iowans.