State officials warn against charity scams

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Those longing to help the Oklahoma communities devastated by a tornado this week should remember to research a charity before they donate, state officials warned Tuesday.

The Better Business Bureau, the Washington State Attorney General's Office and the Secretary of State said opportunistic criminals crop up in the aftermath of disaster and create fake charities that claim to help victims.

They provide these tips:

• Be suspicious of solicitors requesting immediate donations, and of new charities with background information you can't easily verify.

• Be suspicious of people who reach out through social media websites, such as Facebook, and claim to be a victim of the tragedy.

• Avoid cash donations.

• Consider contributing at www.give.org, a website run by the Better Business Bureau.