Fraud Unit: Wildfire scamsPosted: Updated:
The Better Business Bureau is issuing warnings about scams that are cropping up along with the wildfires throughout Arizona.
They offer the following suggestions:
Get the full name of the organization that is soliciting to ensure the charity you are contributing to is the one you think it is. In an attempt to fool consumers, some scam artists set up charities under names that sound very similar to mainstream relief organizations.
If you're giving to a charity that promises to provide relief to victims, make sure the organization is experienced in disaster relief. There are many logistics involved with getting relief to victims, and you'll want to select charities that have proven track records in navigating those situations.
If donating food, clothing or other supplies make sure the charity you're giving these items to has resources on site to get donated items in the hands of those in need.
Avoid writing checks that are payable to an individual solicitor unless that person is well-known to you. Make checks out to the actual relief organization.
If donating online, search the Website to ensure the charity has a physical address on the site and that you're using a secure site when entering account information. A Website is secure if an "s" is located at the end of http:// in the URL.
Stay informed by checking in with local government Websites, information centers and trusted news sources. Updates on evacuations and other details about the Monument Fire can be found at www.cochise.az.gov; lists of donation items needed as well businesses and individuals that are offering assistance in Cochise County can be found at www.sierravistaaz.gov