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Warning About Tornado Scams
DES MOINES, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is reminding Iowans to be careful about who they give money to after a disaster like the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.
"All of us who live in Iowa face the threat of tornadoes, but few of us have faced the devastation and loss that many now face in Oklahoma," Miller said. "Our hearts go out to Oklahomans, and Iowans will help."
While the Consumer Protection Division has not received any complaints tied to Oklahoma tornado relief efforts, Miller cautioned that some will try to use the tragedy to exploit Iowans. "I urge Iowans to help, but I also urge Iowans to be careful about how they help. Be sure you know exactly where your donations are going, and watch out for sound-alike charities."
Miller says Iowans should educate themselves about a group before making a donation.
Here are some ways you can help:
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross has several shelters open in Oklahoma and Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles have begun delivering hot meals throughout the affected areas. The Red Cross is also working to link loved ones in Moore who are OK through a website called Safe and Well. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, donate online, or donate by phone at 1-800-RED CROSS.
The Salvation Army is activating disaster response teams and mobile feeding units to help residents and rescuers in Moore, Okla., as well as in other locations in the Plains and the Midwest that were impacted by tornadoes. Donate online or text STORM to 80888 to contribute $10 to the Salvation Army's relief efforts or make a donation by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY. If you're sending a check make sure you put the words "Oklahoma Tornado Relief" on the check, and mail it to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 12600, Oklahoma City, OK., 73157.
Los Angeles-based international relief agency Operation USA announced it's providing emergency aid where needed to community-based health organizations across Oklahoma. Donate online, by phone at 1-800-678-7255, or by check made out to Operation USA, 7421 Beverly Blvd., PH, Los Angeles, CA 90036. You can also donate $10 by texting AID to 50555. Corporate donations of bulk quantities of disaster-appropriate supplies are also being requested.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief says it has deployed at least 80 volunteers to respond to severe weather in Oklahoma. Those interested in helping can make a tax-deductible donation to the BGCO's Disaster Relief ministry online or call (405) 942-3800. You may also send checks to: BGCO Attn: Disaster Relief 3800 N. May Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73112.
United Way of Central Oklahoma
A disaster relief fund is being activated as of May 21 so that individuals can specifically donated to tornado relief-and-recovery efforts, the organization says on its site.
"Financial contributions are the best way to help unless otherwise requested." Donations can be made online at
United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Disaster Relief Fund is open. Donations may be made online here. Checks, with a notation of "May Tornado Relief" can also be sent to the United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK , 73101.
Through its network of more than 200 food banks, Feeding America, whose mission is to "feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks," says it will deliver truckloads of food, water and supplies to communities in need, in Oklahoma, and will also "set up additional emergency food and supply distribution sites as they are needed." You can donate online here.
Facebook has created a page to help family find lost loved ones. Click here to connect with loved ones in Oklahoma or help others in locating someone.