Authorities Warn Scam Artists Will Steal Relief Efforts - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Authorities Warn Scam Artists Will Steal Relief Efforts

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Don't Be Scammed, Trying to Help Others Don't Be Scammed, Trying to Help Others

As families begin putting their lives back together, scammers are busy trying to make money off the tornado disasters.

They are willing to steal  from people who have lost their homes. The State Attorney General says even in the comfort of your home, you are at risk.

You might think it could not happen to you. But it does. People decide to give and sometimes instead of a real charity, there's a criminal on the other end. According to Moneygram, on the average, scam artists walk away with $824, when they are successful. 

They can take your money by email, asking you to click on a link and donate, or they can even call you on the phone.  Moneygram says many times you may be asked to wire money to a charity. And if you do that, and complete the the wire transfer, your money is gone.

There are red flags. Pay attention to the name of the organization. It may sound like a well known charity but they may use another word.  And if you feel pressure, either from a caller on the phone or emails--in capital letters, don't complete the transaction.

"Your flag should go up if someone is trying to say how urgent it is or that they need you to immediately respond. Don't.  Listen to the gut instinct that you have that is natural," advised Detective Matthias Wicks of Tulsa Police Department, Financial Crimes Unit.

Getting your money is the first phase.  The second phase of scams will be from traveling repair scanners who may offer to cut up trees at a reduced cost or use recycled materials to make repairs.

If you do feel you have been scammed, call the police and make a report.

You also should use a well known charity, that you contact, to make your donation. 

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