Don't get swept up in wildfire charity scams - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Don't get swept up in wildfire charity scams

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SPOKANE, WA - Wildfires have sparked across the country including the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Western Wyoming. Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest is sending out a warning over the dangers of donating relief funds to the wrong people.

In Washington there are a handful of fires burning, including the Range 12 fire near Yakima. That blaze has spread to more than 175,000 acres and has threatened more than 200 homes.

Keep in mind con artists impersonate legitimate entities using materials with borrowed names and logos. Be wary of anyone using these tactics to obtain funds:

  • Use of threatening and aggressive tactics or deadlines.
  • Only accepts cash donations or checks made out to them personally.
  • Can’t explain what kind of relief will be offered, how it will be distributed, who will benefit, when it will be allocated and what percentage of donations benefit causes.

Be wary of cybercriminals who target those looking for news updates and wanting to help. While online, be careful of:

  • Search engine results from unknown or untrustworthy websites.
  • Unsolicited emails, instant messages and social media posts from unknown senders.
  • Videos or news stories with unusual or shocking headlines.

Protect computers, click carefully and guard personal data. Ensure that anti-virus software, security patches and firewalls are installed, active and up-to-date.