Temple, Texas and many surrounding areas were devastated by tornados and severe storms. The City of Temple has issued a Disaster Declaration. Many homes and businesses were destroyed or severely damaged. It was a frightening and devastating ordeal that will take a while for the area to recover from.

The great thing during times like these communities and people tend to band together and accomplish amazing things. Tragedies just have a habit of bringing out the best in people. You can look around the community and see this in action right now.

However, situations like these can also bring out the worst in some people. As sad as it may be, some people will try to take advantage of those in need or those who want to help. They prey on victim's need for help and the charitable's kindness.

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Scams to Avoid During Temple's Recovery Effort

I know it's hard to believe that there are people who would try to use situations like those in the Central Texas community for personal gain. But, sadly there are. People steal charitable donations ranging from money to clothes. They'll pose as contractors to rob and steal. It's a sad reality.

However, FEMA has some tips of things to look for to avoid being taken advantage of.

  • Ask the person claiming to be an official to show you their identification badge. Federal employees always wear an official government badge to identify themselves.
  • Don’t trust anyone who asks for money. Federal and local disaster workers do not solicit or accept money. FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) staff never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help in filling out applications.
  • Don’t believe anyone who promises a disaster grant and asks for large cash deposits or advance payments in full.
  • Use licensed or verified local contractors backed by reliable references.
  • Don’t pay more than half the costs of repairs in advance.
  • Demand that contractors detail the job to be done with guarantees in writing.

Both local & Federal Authorities say that if you see something that doesn't sound or look right to let them know.

Want to Help the Recovery Effort in Temple?

Many are already reaching out to the City to find out how they can help. Which is awesome to see. To make sure you're not volunteering or donating items to scammers, here's what the City of Temple is telling people to do.

If you are not affiliated with participating partner organizations and wish to help out/volunteer please call 254.298.5970.
If you would like to donate, the United Way of Central Texas in Temple is accepting monetary donations on behalf of the City.
Again, I know it's hard to believe that people would try to take advantage of a situation like this, but they can and most likely will. Only give donations to reputable organizations you're familiar with (like the American Red Cross) or ones officially endorsed by the City of Temple.

If You Need Assistance in Temple, Texas Here's What You Need to Know

If you've been negatively impacted by the tornado in Temple, don't get taken advantage of. There are plenty of reputable resources available to you in your time of need.

The City of Temple has already started a Recovery Taskforce. The taskforce is offering a wide range of services to those in need including debris removal and home repairs. You can find more details about that here.

A shelter has been opened for those in need at the Wilson Recreation Center, located at 2205 Curtis B. Elliott Drive. Residents who need transportation may call (254) 298-5682.

LOOK: Tornado Damage in Temple, Texas

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Gallery Credit: Meg Dowdy

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