TALLAHASSEE, Fla — After Hurricane Sally ripped through parts of the northern Gulf Coast, Florida's Attorney General wants to make sure your donations are going to the right place.
Attorney General Ashley Moody says Floridians should take steps to make sure their donations reach those who need assistance and do not go to scammers using the crisis to steal from good-hearted donors.
“Hurricane Sally ripped through the western part of the Florida Panhandle, leaving a path of destruction and flooding that will take some time to repair. Charitable donations will play an important role in the recovery efforts, and I am asking everyone giving to this worthy cause to please take steps to ensure donations go to those in need and not fraudsters selfishly exploiting the crisis," Moody said.
Here are tips Moody shared to make sure donations make it into the right hands:
- Be proactive and donate to a reputable organization, rather than waiting to be solicited
- Research a charity using Charity Navigator and by checking with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at FreshFromFlorida.com or 1(800) HELP-FLA, to determine whether the charity is registered to solicit donations in Florida
- Avoid solicitors using high-pressure tactics or who hesitate to provide more information about a charitable organization
- If donating online, be sure to confirm the identity of the recipient and be careful when providing any personal contact information
- Be wary of charities with similar sounding names. Some phony charities may attempt to use names that resemble legitimate, well-known charities
- Call the Florida Attorney General’s Office at 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at 1(703) 276-0100 to determine if there are any complaints against a charity.
More charity fraud tips and consumer resources can be found here.
Moody asks that any scams be reported to the Florida Attorney General’s Office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or file a complaint online at MyFloridaLegal.com.
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