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Jimmy Lee Tillman II statement on historic December '21 storm and tips to avoid scammers

"Our heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to all those affected by what has become the first quad-state tornado storm in US history that has caused massive damage over several states. We ask those in Illinois of solid faith to join us in a special prayer for our neighbors in Edwardsville and those affected by the tragedy at the Amazon warehouse.

We also caution those who wish to help to beware of scammers. Unfortunately, it becomes prime time for scammers to prey on others' money; that's why it's best to do research and give to local organizations. It's better to drop off donations at local charities and look for those organizations that are equipped to help in disasters by checking with the Better Business Bureau or going to their website."

The following are tips that can be found on AARP's website:

Choose a charity wisely

If you choose to give a donation, choose wisely. Regrettably, criminals chase headlines, set up bogus charities and take the money and run. That’s true even if there’s not a disaster in the news.

The Federal Trade Commission, a consumer protection agency, offers guidance on how to donate wisely and avoid charity scams.

Here are more tips from AARP on avoiding charity scams:

  • Be skeptical of anyone promising immediate clean-up and debris removal.

  • Some may quote outrageous prices, demand an upfront payment or lack the skills needed.

  • Check them out.

  • Before you pay, ask for identification, licenses and proof of insurance. Don't believe promises that aren't in writing.

  • Never pay by wire transfer, gift card or cash.

  • And never make a final payment until the work is done and you're satisfied.

  • Guard your personal information.

  • Only scammers will say they're some type of government official and then demand money or your credit card, bank account number or Social Security number.

  • Remember: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does not charge application fees to apply for funds.

  • If someone wants money to help you qualify for FEMA relief, it's probably a scam.

  • Be wise to rental listing scams.

  • Steer clear of people who tell you to wire money or ask for a security deposit or rent before you've even met or signed a lease.

  • Spot disaster-related charity scams.

  • Scammers often will try to make a quick profit from the misfortune of others. Here's more on donating wisely and avoiding bogus charities.


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