5 THINGS TO KNOW: How to avoid charity scams following a disaster

May 3—The Oklahoma Attorney General's Office gives information on how to spot charity scams that could pop up following the latest round of severe weather in the state.

1 How can I verify a charity?

Research the charity to make sure it offers true charitable programs and services and check to see if it is authorized to receive tax-exempt donations. Resources include the IRS, Oklahoma Secretary of State's Office, the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance and Guidestar.

2 What if there is no information?

Beware of any charity that appears to have been created recently and does not have much publicly available information.

3 What if I get a request through text or email?

If you get donation requests via email or text, never click on links or open attachments unless you know who sent the message. Messages could be phishing attempts to gain your personal information. If you are interested in donating to the charity who contacted you, visit the organization's website for giving options.

4 What about sites like GoFundMe?

Exercise diligence when giving money to a charitable cause or a charitable organization through a crowdfunding platform such as GoFundMe. Crowdfunding campaigns can be set up by anyone and are not limited to charities. Obtain information on who the campaign organizer is; if you don't know the person or entity, research them further.

5 How do I report a possible charity scam?

Report suspected charity fraud to the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit at 1-833-681-1895 or consumerprotection@oag.ok.gov.

—Derrick James