05/23/13 One of the great things about living in America is the American Spirit and the willingness of people to come to the aid of others during tragic events. The recent tornadoes in Oklahoma have already brought volunteers to the area and others will certainly follow. Still others unable to travel to Oklahoma will be very generous by donating money, clothing, and other needs to assist with the relief efforts. While such tragedies oftentimes will bring out the best in most people, still there are those few who will take advantage of the misfortune of others for personal gain. Hoosiers should be aware of people taking the opportunity in light of the recent catastrophic events in Oklahoma to play on the generosity of those willing to help out monetarily. Citizens are cautioned to be skeptical of those going from door-to-door or making individual phone calls to residents claiming to be collecting for tornado relief. If you are contacted by someone asking for donations, ask questions to determine whether or not your contribution will actually go to the tornado relief efforts. Ask the person collecting for credentials, what organization they represent, if there is an address donations can be sent, etc. Ask the person if they have a business card with a website or other information that can be verified through other reliable sources such as the Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General’s Office. If you are approached and feel someone is trying to scam you try to get as much information as possible such as a name, description of the person, description of the vehicle including color, make, and license number if possible then contact local police, sheriff, or your nearest Indiana State Police Post.
The best way to contribute to the relief efforts is to donate money and other needed articles through known legitimate organizations such as the American Red Cross or through local churches collecting for tornado relief. Be aware, be vigilant, and don’t get scammed.