Tulsa Better Business Bureau: How To Spot Charity Scams

Friday, July 20th 2018, 4:44 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa man was charged with running a charity for veterans but pocketing the money. So how do you make sure you're donating to a reputable charity?

The Facebook Page for the American Oklahoma Veterans of Green Country says the organization, has a five star review. The rating is based on the comment of one person - Jeff McDougle - who's now charged with 20 felonies.

He wrote the organization, "Helps American Combat Veterans through their most difficult times. Promoting the healing of Our Men and Women who have been in combat and being a friend they can depend on every step of the way."

An affidavit says McDougal registered four different organizations with the state, Cornerstone Oklahoma which was set up to collect funds for three different charities: American Oklahoma Veterans of Green Country, Students Against Drugs Association and the Broken Arrow Jaycees. 

"It's a 20-count indictment based on one man's greed and corruption," said Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter.

7/19/2018 Related Story: Tulsa Man Charged With Fake Veterans Charity Scam

The Better Business Bureau says just because a charity is registered with the state, doesn't make it legit. 

"What you want to watch out for is really what percentage of the donation is going towards the fundraising effort, going back towards the charitable cause," said Amie Mitchell, Tulsa Better Business Bureau CEO.

She said people should go to the BBB website to see the ratings for themselves. If the charity or business isn't there, she said request the information directly from the charity.

"Ask them for their annual report, ask them how much of their donation is actually going back towards the cause," Mitchell said.

A legitimate charities website should start with HTTPS. The "S" is really the key because that means it's secure, and most charities are going to ask for donations online.