California Wildfires Most Destructive on Record
CAMP FIRE, WORST IN HISTORY, TOOK AIM AT SENIORS
The most recent California wildfires, which began in early November and burned on both ends of the state, have caused 87 deaths (as of 11/25/2018) with 500 people still missing, according to ABC News. The Camp Fire, believed to be the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history, “took ruthless aim at older people. Paradise, the Northern California town erased by fire, was largely a retirement community, with a quarter of the population 65 and older,” according to ABC. The list of those still missing includes many in their 70s and 80s. Most of the fires are now contained. As Californians attempt to rebuild, it’s important to remember that scams and identity theft are common after natural disasters. The F.B.I. is already focused on fraudulent activity in the northern part of the state. Although the desire to do something to help the victims is natural, it’s a sad fact that fraudsters take advantage of our charitable instincts. Before donating, it’s prudent to conduct “due diligence” on the charitable relief organization asking for help. Research the group online, contact the Better Business Bureau, and/or check with the FTC. A few additional tips:
- If a call or email appears to be suspicious, trust your instincts.
- Fraudulent email communications often contain misspellings or grammar that is ‘off.’ The email address of the sender may appear to be a known organization or legitimate company, so it’s best to double check by checking the official site online or calling the company directly.
- Scam phone calls can come from a Caller ID that appears to be legitimate. Take the time to look up the official number of the organization and call them back.
- If you decide to donate, it’s best to use a credit card, as opposed to a debit card or a check. If someone asks for a contribution via gift card or wire transfer, politely decline.