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Warning issued about possible Japan donation scams

March 15, 2011 12:31:32 AM PDT
Scam artists are already trying to make money from the disaster in Japan. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is warning the public to be careful when making donations, especially if you get a phone call or someone knocks at your door.

Authorities suggest you ask for the name of the charity and how much of your money will go to relief efforts. Don't hand over your bank or credit card information unless you're positive the group is legitimate, and always ask for a receipt.

The best way to help is primarily by donating cash, said Capt. Mike Parker of the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau.

A list of of nonprofit charities working with the Japanese government is available on the website of the U.S. Agency for International Development, www.usaid.gov.

People interested in volunteering should go to www.CaliforniaVolunteers.org and enter your ZIP code.

City News Service contributed to this report.