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AARP ElderWatch's July 2012 Smart Tips- Disaster Relief Scams

Wildfire Relief: A Reminder

With forest fires raging across Colorado, jeopardizing numerous communities, many people are asking: How can I help?

Such tragedies, unfortunately, also serve to bring out the bad guys – con artists and scammers out to make a buck off of the misfortune of others. A few important reminders, therefore, about charitable giving and disaster relief:

  • Never give payment information to anyone calling you.
  • If you are contacted, insist the charity mail you printed material on their organization and activity. If the material does not define exactly how the money is used and the percent of donations that actually reaches the given cause, do not contribute.
  • Be alert to supposed charities with names that are similar to (but not exactly like) those you know.
  • Beware all charities that use a “pitch” filled with a significant amount of emotional words and/or images.
  • Don’t give in to pressure or hard-sell tactics. Legitimate charities do not operate that way.

Be especially cautious when contributing in support of emergencies and disaster relief.

To learn how to help those affected by the Waldo, Flagstaff, High Park and other wildfires, consult the centralized list of needs and supporting agencies provided at the state of Colorado’s official relief site:

Remember, too, that financial contributions are the quickest and most effective way to have an impact.

Recognize, Refuse, Report.


Denver Metro Area