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Submitted by the Los Angeles County Emergency Operations Center
2:15 pm PST November 26, 2018

With Woolsey Fire recovery and relief efforts under way, Los Angeles County officials caution the public to beware of charity scams and to donate to organizations they know and trust.

“Some charities spend most of their donations on administrative costs or don’t use the funds the way they promised. Others may not be legitimate charities at all,” the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office states. “Just because an organization has ‘police’ or ‘firefighter’ in its name, doesn’t mean that it actually will use the money to assist these public servants.”

Warning signs for suspicious donation requests include:

• The organization refuses to provide information about the organization, identity, their mission and how the donations will be used.

• The organization does not provide proof that the donation is tax deductible.

• High pressure tactics are used.

• The need to wire money or donate cash.

If you are thinking about giving to a charity, use these simple tips to identify reputable charities:

• Ask for detailed information about the charity, including the name, address and telephone and how the donations will be used.

• Don’t be pressured into making a donation.

• Search the name of the organization on the internet to see if it’s a reputable company.

• Never give donations in cash, by wire or in gift cards.

• Check with the IRS to see if the organization is eligible to receive tax deductible contributions.

For the Woolsey Fire, reputable first responder, relief and animal-aid organizations include: Los Angeles County Fire Department Foundation, lacfdf.org; Los Angeles City Fire Department Foundation, supportlafd.org; American Red Cross, redcross.org; United Way, unitedwayla.org; and Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation, lacountyanimals.org.

For further information about the Woolsey Fire, visit lacounty.gov/woolseyfire.