VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - The Ventura County Sheriff's Office is advising anyone interested in donating to fire relief efforts to be extra diligent to make sure their donations are being put to good use.
When donating to charities, it's particularly important to remember the following tips:
- Donate to charities you know and trust.
- Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight.
- Do not give out personal or financial information including your credit card or bank account number unless you know the charity is reputable.
- Never send cash by mail.
- Be suspicious of random calls requesting a donation.
- Be cautious about clicking on links in emails requesting a donation.
- Check out a charity before you donate by contacting the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at (703) 276-0100.
Another common scam that occurs following natural disasters includes home repair fraud. Home and business owners who need to hire a contractor should:
- Check the contractor’s identification and references.
- Verify the contractor’s license though the State Contractors Board.
- Ask for copies of the contractor’s general liability and worker’s compensation insurance.
- Avoid paying more than the minimum in advance.
- Deal with reputable people in your community.
- Call local law enforcement if you suspect a con.
Scammers often play on the emotions of people, especially during major incidents.
If you are interested in donating to fire relief, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office recommends some of these well known charitable organizations: