OKLAHOMA CITY – After tornadoes devastated the state last May, thousands of dollars were donated to national animal welfare groups to support Oklahoma animals without a home.
Now, Attorney General Scott Pruitt is issuing a warning to Oklahomans regarding those donations.
Pruitt claims some groups give Oklahomans the impression their donations will go to help local animal shelters.
However, the donations may go to unrelated efforts like lobbying in another state or at the federal level.
Oklahoma animal shelters that were impacted by the 2013 tornadoes have said their organizations have not received assistance from the national groups.
One organization being investigated by the attorney general is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS.)
One humane society official said any accusation of misleading solicitations on their part is not true.
HSUS is now working with the attorney general to disclose local donation information.
The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Public Protection Unit warns anyone who wants to donate to an animal welfare organization to not give credit card numbers over the phone or via e-mail.
Instead, write checks payable only to the charity.
Also, find out if a charity is registered in Oklahoma by contacting the Secretary of State.
Officials warn you should also be leery of charities with names similar to well-known organizations.
It’s a common practice but beware of appeals that are long on emotion but short on facts.
Be suspect if you will receive a ‘free gift’ or ‘prize’ for donations.
To report suspected fraud, contact the AG’s Public Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029.