Monday, March 24, 2014

OSO, DARRINGTON- Watch Out for Disaster Scammers

With all of the sad news coming out of the slide in Oso, many people want to help and often contributing money is their best way to help. Unfortunately, scammers prey on our motivation to do good work and try to trick us to give then our money in the guise of being legitimate charity organizations.

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office along with the Secretary of State’s Office and the Better Business Bureau has issued a warning to be careful who we contribute to. Similar warnings are issued for national, international and local tragedies on a regular basis.

If you are considering making a contribution to the victims of the Oso slide, the organizations recommend that you consider the following:

  • Be suspicious of solicitors requesting immediate donations. Don’t rush decisions and consider contributing at, a website run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
  • Make sure that charities are qualified to provide the type of disaster relief that is necessary.
  • Avoid cash donations. Write a check directly to the charity, not the fundraiser.
  • Never give out credit card numbers over the phone.
  • Be wary of “new” charities with unverifiable background information.
  • Watch out for solicitations from fake “victim” or memorial social media accounts.
  • Don’t be fooled by a name. Be watchful of charities that use sympathetic sounding names or names similar to well-known legitimate charities.

Attorney General’s Press Release:

For how you can help, the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management (DEM) has the following advice:

“First, do not go out to the scene. The slide area remains very dangerous. Non-dispatched individuals at the scene will complicate the response efforts of the rescue crews. Red Cross is accepting monetary donations at or call1-800-Red-Cross. Please do not bring donation of items to Red Cross shelters.” When you call or go online, you can designate where you want your money to go.

For FAQ’s concerning the slide, go to:

The DEM is also still soliciting information about loved ones who may have been in the slide area on Saturday:

“Q: Where can I send photos and information of missing loved ones?

 Please call 425-388-5088 FIRST and report your missing friends/family. You MUST do this first so we have it on the official record, then send photos of your missing friends/family to Please include the person's FULL NAME in the body of the email, along with a description of any distinguishing marks, tattoos, etc.
 Photos should be clear face shots, and photos of any distinguishing marks, etc.”

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