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Florida attorney general encourages giving wisely to help hurricane victims

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Posted at 3:24 AM, Oct 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-23 02:46:40-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Attorney General Pam Bondi is reminding Floridians to give wisely in the wake of Hurricane Michael and in recognition of International Charity Fraud Awareness Week.

She said Floridians should take steps to ensure donations go to those in need.

"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," Bondi said.

Anyone wishing to donate can follow these tips to help ensure gifts are used to assist victims and communities recover from Hurricane Michael:

  • Be proactive and donate to a reputable organization, rather than wait to be solicited;
  • Consider giving to an established disaster-relief charity, such as the Florida Disaster Fund;
  • 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 that 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; and
  • Call the Attorney General’s Office at 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at (703) 276-0100 to determine if there are any complaints against a charity.

The first annual International Charity Fraud Awareness Week runs from Oct. 22 to 26. ICFAW is a coordinated international campaign to help charities and consumers avoid charity fraud and promote wise giving.

Please report any scams to the Florida Attorney General’s Office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or file a complaint online at MyFloridaLegal.com. For more charity fraud tips and resources for consumers, please visit www.ftc.gov/charity.