News and Tribune

May 23, 2013

ISP warns of tornado-relief scammers

People urged to use reputable agencies

By GARY POPP
gary.popp@newsandtribune.com

SELLERSBURG — Indiana State Police is asking people to take precautions when interacting with people claiming they’re accepting donations for relief efforts of the Oklahoma tornado.

The agency said those taking contributions over the phone or by knocking on doors may be acting out of less goodwill than the people they are contacting.

“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,” ISP released in a statement. “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.”

The law enforcement agency suggests if contacted by someone asking for donations, ask questions to determine whether or not your contribution will actually go to the tornado relief efforts.

ISP officials said it is appropriate to ask the person collecting for credentials, what organization they represent and if there is an address that donations can be sent. The agency also suggested to ask the person if they have a business card with a website address 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 the nearest ISP post,” the ISP released.

The ISP Sellersburg post can be reached at 812-246-5424

ISP reported that the best way to contribute to the relief efforts is by going through known legitimate organizations such as the American Red Cross or local churches.