Sheriff Warns of Quake-Related Scams

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City News Service

With Los Angeles County firefighters in Japan assisting with the earthquake and tsunami recovery effort, Los Angeles area residents are turning out to help as well, but a warning was issued Monday by the sheriff’s department about possible criminal fraud.

Capt. Mike Parker of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau gave the following suggestions:

• Asking for the name of the charity if a telemarketer does not provide it promptly.

• Finding out what percentage of your donation will go to the cause and verify that the charity has authorized the solicitation.

• Not providing credit card or bank information until you are convinced the solicitation is legitimate.

• Asking for a receipt that says the amount deducted is tax-deductible.

• Avoiding cash gifts. It is best to pay by check.

More information is available by calling the Federal Trade Commission at (877) 382-4357.

A list of nonprofit charities working with the Japanese government is available on the website of the U.S. Agency for International Development, www.usaid.gov.

If you are interested in volunteering, go to www.CaliforniaVolunteers.org and enter your ZIP code.

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