PIERRE, S.D (KELO-AM) Attorney General Marty Jackley is asking South Dakotans to remain cautious of scams that continue to exploit blizzard victims from South Dakota. These scam artists typically show up after disasters and pose as charities to collect money from those who are willing to help. “Several weeks have passed since the devastating blizzard hit western South Dakota, however the Consumer Protection Division continues to receive complaints on fraudulent charitable organizations targeting our citizens,” said Jackley. “It is disheartening, but scam artists often use these types of disasters to take advantage of those who simply want to help.” Here are a few tips to avoid becoming a victim: Verify the legitimacy of the nonprofit organization as well as its nonprofit status. Visit such sites as www.charitynavigator.org orwww.guidestar.org. Ask specifically how this donation will be used. Ask how much of your donation will go to the charity and how much will be used to pay fund raising costs. Consider giving to charitable organizations with a strong history in providing disaster relief. Beware of charitable organizations that use sound alike names of legitimate companies. Donors should not respond to any unsolicited emails, but rather go directly to recognized charities or aid organizations. Do not pay cash. For security reasons write a check. If you want additional information about the charity ask that they send it to you in writing. Any legitimate company will be more than happy to provide this information to verify their legitimacy.
Those wanting to give are encouraged to visit the website for the Rancher’s Relief Fund. This fund has been specifically set up to those in the agriculture industry impacted by the blizzard of October 4-7, 2013.http://www.ranchersrelief.org/
For more information about charitable giving, contact the South Dakota Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or http://atg.sd.gov/.