Jefferson Co. sheriff: Scam-free tips on donating to Japan victims

JEFFERSON COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - A Mo. sheriff is advising caution when donating to certain disaster organizations that you first make inquires.

If you intend to donate to the victims of the disaster in Japan in order to help in the recovery efforts, do so carefully and with a lot of research, according to Jefferson County, Mo. Sheriff Oliver "Glenn" Boyer.

In light of the disaster in Japan, there are already several scams being presented throughout the United States.  In order to avoid a scam, Sheriff Boyer offers the following tips:

  • First and foremost, never give personal information over the phone, to include your Social Security Number or credit card numbers.
  • Always ask for a permanent address, along with printed information for the agency requesting the donation.
  • Once you have received the information, make sure there is a physical address included, and not a P.O. Box.
  • Only donate to a reputable organization.  If you are unsure whether or not an organization is legitimate, immediately contact your local law enforcement agency or the Better Business Bureau.
  • Ask questions, such as "What percentage of the funds collected will go directly to the cause?" and "What percentage of the funds collected will be used for operating expenses for the organization?"
  • Ask if the organization has a local chapter in the St. Louis Metropolitan area.  If so, contact the local chapter in order to donate.
  • Never simply donate over the phone.  Always ask for more information.
  • Always check to ensure the organization is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau

If you have any hesitations, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately and do not donate or give any of your personal information until you have verified in fact, an organization is legitimate, according to Boyer.

Sheriff Boyer reiterates that he is not against anyone donating to such a worthy cause as the Disaster Relief efforts in Japan, but asks that you be careful as to whom you donate to in order to avoid wasting your efforts on scam operations.

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