Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Scam Alert - Hurricane Related Charities

As Hurricane Matthew continues to wreak havoc on the Caribbean leaving destruction in its path, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and GoFundMe are working to ensure donations meant to help victims of Matthew are actually going to those affected by the Hurricane and not to scammers.

“Hurricane Matthew has already claimed lives and destroyed communities in the Caribbean, and many good-hearted Floridians and others around the country want to help those affected by the storm. That is why we are working with GoFundMe, one of the primary crowdfunding platforms, to ensure donations go to those who truly need help and not to scammers using the disaster to prey on the good intentions of our citizens,” said Attorney General Bondi.

This week, and in the weeks following this disaster, the Florida Attorney General’s Office will be looking into charities promising relief to victims of the storm and working with GoFundMe to ensure any new accounts set up through the crowdfunding platform are used to assist victims and rebuild communities.

Before giving, donors can contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office to check if an organization has any complaints filed against it. Donors should also beware of new organizations using similar sounding names or logos as established charities. Scammers often use names and graphics that sound or look like the names and signs of legitimate, widely known charities.

Below are additional tips for anyone wishing to donate through a crowdfunding organization:
Consider giving to campaigns created by people you know and trust;
Report concerns to the Florida Attorney General’s Office and click the Report Campaign button on the GoFundMe campaign page, if information that raises suspicion is found, when researching a crowdfunding organizer;
Note that some pages may lack names of beneficiaries as campaign organizers could be in the process of adding beneficiaries directly to the page; and
Notify GoFundMe if a potential recipient does not want a campaign set up, or continued on their behalf, and the account will be closed.

Consumers who believe they have been a victim of a scam or other fraudulent activity may file a complaint by calling 1(866) 9-NO-SCAM or by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.

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