Below are several ways you can help the victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes. But the Better Business Bureau warns that you should beware of scammers working to profit off of the devastation.
How to Help:
The following organizations are accepting donations for relief efforts:
Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769). Supporters can donate online via the organization's website, SalvationArmyUSA.org. You can also text the word STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation via cellphone.
Phone: 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767); for Spanish speakers, 1-800-257-7575; for TDD, 1-800-220-4095. If you want to send a $10 donation to the Disaster Relief fund via text message, you can do so by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999. You need to be 18 or older, or have parental permission.
Phone: 1-800-910-5524. Donate online here.
Donations of items such as clothing and supplies are strongly discouraged. Financial donations will allow disaster relief agencies to purchase whatever items are deemed necessary without resulting in the additional burden of securing warehouse space and volunteers to work donated product.
To make a tax deductible donation to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, go to www.regionalfoodbank.org or call 604-7111 or text FOOD to 32333 to give $10 to relief efforts.
The Better Business Bureau, along with several states' attorneys general offers the following tips to avoid being scammed in the wake of a disaster:
- Be suspicious of solicitors requesting immediate donations
- Make sure charities are qualified to provide disaster relief
- Avoid cash donations. Write a check directly to the charity, not the fundraiser.
- Never give out credit card numbers over the phone.
- Be wary of new charities with unverifiable background information.
- Watch out for solicitations from fake victim or memorial social media accounts.
- Be watchful of charities that use sympathetic-sounding names or names similar to well-known legitimate charities.
The BBB also recommends that people don't rush charitable decisions, and consider contributing at give.org, which is run by a council of BBB chapters