March 23, 2024

I can’t stop looking at the photos of the once tree-lined neighborhoods, downtown areas, schools, churches and businesses that have been destroyed by the tornadoes that tore through several states Friday night and Saturday morning.

A snapshot of a brown stuffed teddy bear sitting among the rubble that was once somebody’s house in Kentucky makes me tear up.

How could the photos of areas that appear as if bombs were dropped and of people trying to salvage anything from their demolished homes not move you to give to relief efforts to feed and house the tornado victims?

The families might not have the financial resources for the funerals for the dozens of people who have died.

You’re feeling generous, and that’s a good thing. Your help is needed. But one thing is for sure. The scammers will be coming for your donation dollars, too.

You will get an email, a text message or a legitimate-looking appeal on your social media platform asking that you give to charities assisting the residents, workers and employers struggling to recover from the tornadoes that upended their lives.

“This is exactly the kind of scam that we worry about,” said Sunita Lough, commissioner of the IRS tax-exempt and government entities division. “People will call. Everyone has heard on the news about so many people in need. But if someone calls you, you don’t need to make a donation right then and there.”

Before you write that check or give to a GoFundMe campaign or Cash…

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