MORGANTOWN — Sadly, following a disaster of any kind, the scam artists often see opportunity.
The Morgantown Police Department would like to remind everyone to be crime conscious following Hurricane Florence. Shady people will attempt to scam unsuspecting citizens seeking help. The Morgantown Police Department is reminding everyone to follow a few simple rules in the days and weeks following this disaster.
— Avoid solicitors that use high-pressure tactics or are hesitant to provide additional information on the charitable organization.
— Be wary of charities with similar sounding names. Some phony charities may attempt to capitalize on disasters by using names like legitimate, well-known charities.
— Consider donating to an established disaster-relief charity.
— Be very wary of telephone and/or email solicitations.
— Federal and state workers do not ask for, or accept, money.
— Check out the credentials of a potential charitable organization before you donate.
— Charity Navigator www.charitynavigator.org has already posted a list of highly-rated charities providing aid and support in the Carolinas.
— You can always confirm charitable status through the new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) online tool, the Tax Exempt Organization Search (TEOS) apps.irs.gov.
— The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office has established a Disaster Relief Fund which can be located at governor.nc.gov/donate-florence-recovery.
Verifiable organizations that have a local presence and are working with Disaster Relief are:
— American Red Cross
— United Way
— Catholic Charities of America
There is a wide variety of organizations that are providing relief during this trying time and everyone is encouraged to verify that they are giving to legitimate organizations. If you suspect fraud, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud’s hotline at 1-866-720-5721, or email the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistant.gov.