As Texas continues to feel the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, Attorney General Pam Bondi is asking Floridians who want to help to use caution when donating. Scammers will often use natural disasters to prey on the good intentions of others, but there are steps consumers can take to protect against charity-related scams. “As Floridians, we know all too well the destruction a massive hurricane can cause and how vital charitable donations are in helping communities recover—but before you give, please take steps to ensure your donation will be used to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, not a scammer exploiting the goodwill of Floridians,” said Attorney General Bondi. Anyone wishing to donate can follow these tips to make sure gifts are used to help victims and Texas communities recover from Harvey:
Be proactive and donate to a reputable charity, rather than wait to be solicited;
When giving, consider donating to an established disaster-relief charity, such as RedCross.org;
Research a charity by using Charity Navigator and by contacting the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to determine whether the charity is registered to solicit donations in Florida;
Avoid solicitors using high-pressure tactics or hesitant to provide more information about a charitable organization;
If donating online at a fundraising site, be sure to confirm the identity of the recipient and be careful when providing any personal contact information; and
Contact the Attorney General’s Office at (866) 9-NO-SCAM or call the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at (703) 276-0100 to determine if there are any complaints against a charity.
For more information about charity scams and tips to avoid such scams, Attorney General Bondi urges consumers to review the Attorney General’s Hurricane Preparedness Guide. Consumers who believe they have been a victim of a scam or other fraudulent activity may file a complaint by calling (866) 9-NO-SCAM [966-7226] or by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.