Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Department of Justice - Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
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September 2, 2005

Attorney General Hardy Myers today urged Oregonians to support the victims of Hurricane Katrina but warned that caution is the key word in deciding what form their assistance should take and how to recognize legitimate relief organizations from scams invented by disaster con artists.

"Disasters have always brought out the best and the worst in human beings and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is no different," Myers said. "Giving to legitimate charities that have good track records in dealing with disaster relief will ensure that Oregonians' donations are not wasted."

Myers advised Oregonians to call his Charitable Activities office at (503) 229-5725 before making a contribution to check whether a disaster relief organization has registered with the Department of Justice as required by law before soliciting contributions. Myers added that registration does not mean that the organization is automatically worthy of support and that consumers should also check for any complaints in its history. A current list of registered charities can be accessed through the Department of Justice website at www.doj.state.or.us.

"Charitable giving scams have taken many forms over the years," Myers said. "Some of these already have been reported in Oregon." Specific scams have included:

  • Posers pretending to be legitimate, well-recognized disaster relief organizations.
  • Phony websites, including some created in the name of fictional relief organizations, established by con artists to collect the credit card numbers from their victims.
  • Spam emails purporting to contain information about missing family members.
  • Phony offers to help search for missing loved ones — for a fee.
  • Deceptive telemarketing pitches for water purification systems and electrical generators.

The Department of Justice "Wise Giving Guide" is available online and by calling the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392.


Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) jan.margosian@doj.state.or.us |
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