We have all been horrified by the news about the devastating mudslides in Oso, Washington that have caused tremendous death and destruction.  Our hearts go out to the victims and the families of the victims of this tragedy.  Unfortunately, scammers are well aware of our desire to help the victims of this natural disaster and have already set up phony charities and are attempting steal money from generous people under the pretense of helping the victims of the mudslides.  Unfortunately, I have had to warn you about this type of scam many times in the past as scammers are quick to take advantage of our generous impulses to help our fellow man in the face of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina or unnatural tragedies such as the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.  I urge people to consider helping the victims of this tragedy, but follow the steps I provide below to make sure that your gift will go to the right place.


Never give a donation by credit card over the phone or in response to an email or text message because you can never be confident that the person contacting you legitimately represents a legitimate charity.  Email addresses may appear legitimate, but they can be faked by a scammer.  A phone number may appear legitimate, but scammers are able to fool Caller ID through a technique called spoofing by which the number appears legitimate, but it is not.  Phony charities often have names that are confusingly similar to those of legitimate charities.  Always check out a charity first before making a contribution.  The best place to go is to http://www.charitynavigator.org where you can find out not only whether the charity is legitimate or not, but also how much of your contribution goes toward their salaries and administration expenses and how much goes to its actual charitable purposes.