Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

May 23, 2013

OUR VIEW: Scammers seek profit from tragedy

We’re disgusted we even have to write this editorial.

As residents of Oklahoma City and its suburbs barely start the process of picking themselves up off the ground, we’ve already received warnings from state police about scammers looking to make a quick buck off the misfortune of others.

Towns were erased off the map by the rage of a top-of-the-scale EF5 tornado. With the tornado stretching more than a mile across, its 17-mile path was unbelievably devastating.

The search for the missing has nearly come to an end, with 24 on the books as victims. Ten of those were children. Those who did survive have likely not yet even begun to struggle with the decision of whether to rebuild or move on. Though the authorities have yet to say how many homes were destroyed, it’s clear it’s a decision hundreds will have to make.

None of this takes into account the emotional trauma, not only of those affected personally but also those whose hearts broke across the nation as news report came rolling in.

It’d been just a week since the carnage in Texas, and now we’re again watching helplessly as wind toppling 200 mph pulverizes a community.

Many want to help. It’s the way we are here in America. These types of situations tend to bring out the best in people. Many have already jumped in their cars and headed south, looking to help in any way they can. Many have already started collecting needed items. For many, monetarily is the only option for helping.

Unfortunately, these situations also tend to bring out the worst in some people. But don’t let that keep you from helping the victims and their effort to rebuild their lives. Just be smart about how you do it.

And that’s why the Indiana State Police has sent out an advisory about how to avoid scams.

Here’s the advice offered:

Be skeptical of those going door-to-door or making phone calls to residents claiming to be collecting for tornado relief. If you are contacted by someone asking for donations, ask questions. Ask the person collecting for credentials what organization he or she represents, if there is an address donations can be sent, etc.

If you are approached and feel someone is trying to scam you, try to get as much information as possible such as a name, description of the person, description of the vehicle including color, make, and license number if possible, then contact police.

Further, they advise, the best way to contribute is to donate money and other needed supplies through known legitimate organizations.

Here are some options we’ve found:

• Donate as little as $10 to the American Red Cross’ disaster relief efforts by texting “Red Cross” to 90999.

• Send contributions to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 12600, Oklahoma City, OK 73157. Or call 1-800-725-2769.

• Other charities involved in the response efforts include: Feed the Children, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief and the Oklahoma Blood Institute.

For more information on donations, visit www.ok.gov/okstrong

We encourage you to help if you feel so inclined, but we also want you to make sure your hard-earned money gets into the hands of the people who really need it.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • WOLFSIE: Giving a word of advice So, what’s the word? Really, what is the word? With over 250,000 words in the English language, you’d think there would be a word for just about everything. Not so. Therefore, I am on a crusade to find a term for some everyday occurrences for which t

    August 1, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Stop spinning wheels and fund highways It is important that Congress act quickly to maintain sufficient funding levels in the Highway Trust Fund to pay for necessary highway projects.Indiana receives more than 40 percent of its total state highway and transit funding from the federal gove

    August 1, 2014

  • PETERS: Have a cup of joe to help your eyes? My day starts with coffee. I’m too cheap to buy it by the cup from baristas, so I just brew my own Folgers by the pot. I have a cup or two as I settle into work each morning, and another cup – sometimes two – in the early afternoon. That may not be w

    August 1, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: America still the dream Is America really in as bad as shape like many people say it is? I’m 67 and when I look around, I don’t see it.Everything isn’t great but believe it or not, there has never been a time when everything was great, not even in those innocent Fifties we

    July 31, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Every town that has any sort of waterway -- whether it be a river or a creek or just a stream -- knows it will be used as a trash can. And oftentimes, tires are a favorite trash to be tossed into the waterways. Many organizations and concerned citize

    July 31, 2014

  • WERNER: The mystery of the Indian grave at Dykeman Last summer I contacted Thelma Conrad, executive director of the Cass County Historical Society, to ask her if she had any information on the Indian grave at Dykeman Park. Thelma had heard of it but had never seen the small marker that tells of the I

    July 31, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Data confirms our obsession with sports Of the five highest paid employees of Indiana University, three are involved with athletics. That was the case in 2013 as well.In new evidence that spending on athletic department salaries is outpacing the rest of the university, if not the vast majo

    July 30, 2014

  • RAMPBELL: Keeping the sick at home Something strange happened here this week: Lots of workers who’ve never done so before got the right to call in sick. And that’s a good thing.The Big Apple, you see, is joining a handful of other trailblazing cities such as Washington, San Francisco

    July 30, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Patacsil was no ordinary Joe Somebody forgot to tell Joe Patacsil that if he wanted to wrestle at a Big Ten university with black and gold as its school colors ... well, most people who know anything about college wrestling today might have said he picked the wrong one -- Purdue

    July 30, 2014

  • MARCUS: The higher education funding mess Public higher education financing is unsustainable as currently configured. This conclusion was reached by two important groups over the past two years. The National Association of State Budget Officers and the State Higher Education Executive Office

    July 29, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the U.S. impose a travel ban on three West African nations in response to a growing Ebola virus outbreak?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.