This week, we issued a Consumer Alert warning Floridians who wish to give funds to those affected by the Maui wildfires of the potential for charity scams. The devastation caused by this disaster in Hawaii is heartbreaking—claiming more than 100 deaths and burning thousands of acres across the island of Maui. The residents in the affected areas have endured tragic losses and many Floridians may wish to donate to aid organizations.
However, scammers may try to exploit the tragedy to take advantage of generous donors.
Anyone wishing to donate to victims of the wildfires, or charities providing aid, should be on guard against scammers looking to exploit the disaster for personal gain.
Tips to avoid charity scams in the wake of a disaster include:
- Check the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at Give.org or Charity Navigator to determine whether a charity exists and if there are any complaints against the organization before donating;
- Research how the charity uses donations;
- Refrain from providing personal or financial information to unsolicited calls or emails on behalf of a charity; and
- Carefully review the charity’s name before making a donation. Scammers may try to trick unwary donors with titles that resemble legitimate organizations.
For more tips related to charity scams, view our Scams at a Glance: Charity Scams resource by clicking here.
Please be cautious of bad actors when making donations to help the victims of this disaster. Floridians can report charity scams to our office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.