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Beware charity scams
SS scam

The powerful storm that moved through Middle Tennessee early Tuesday morning has been devastating, claiming lives and destroying personal property.

As cleanup efforts begin, the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office wants to ensure that only legitimate businesses and charities are working alongside the many volunteers to clear debris, repair, and rebuild. 

“These storms have devastated the lives and hopes of many. Our communities will step up and help. In fact, they are already doing so,” said Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III. “Unfortunately, these events also attract opportunists who may appear willing to help but really just want to take advantage of the situation and make some quick money without delivering any products or services.”


The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office wants you to keep these tips in mind:

• Don’t fall for high pressure sales tactics. Urgency is a red flag

• Be wary of unknown, out-of-state phone numbers

• Before hiring a contractor, verify proper licensing: verify.tn.gov 

Charity fraud is another common scam that pops up in response to natural disasters. Scammers may solicit donations for tornado victims but pocket the money instead.

Charity scams commonly come in the form of a phone call but can also include email, websites or social media, and text messaging. 

Signs of a charity scam may include:

• A copy-cat name that sounds like a reputable charity. Some scammers use names that closely resemble those of respected, legitimate organizations.

• Cash-only donations. Instead, make checks payable to the charitable organization and not to an individual collecting a donation.

• The caller refuses to disclose the organization’s mission, or how the money will be used

• Lack of proof your contribution is tax-deductible.

If contributing over the Internet, be sure the website belongs to the charity to which you want to donate.  Make sure the website is secure, such as a web address that begins with “https:” and that it offers protection of your credit card number.

For more information on home repair and charity scams, visit: tn.gov/consumer.