TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services commissioner Nikki Fried and the state’s chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis warned residents and businesses of Florida Friday to be aware fraudulent websites and charity fraud schemes targeted at Hurricane Ian relief assistance, while providing resources to research and safely donate to storm recovery.
According to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which regulates charitable organizations in the state, it recommends individuals to research organizations in the state by going to its Check-A-Charity database or by visiting its consumer resources website.
An individual may call 1-800-HELP-FLA to verify if a charity organization is properly registered in Florida. For assistance in Spanish, call 1-800-FL-AYUDA.
Florida’s CFO encourages individuals who want to donate to Hurricane Ian relief to contribute at www.FloridaDisasterFund.org.
According to Patronis, who oversees the Florida Department of Financial Services, as of Friday morning, the Florida Disaster Fund had received more than $10 million in donations since being activated after the storm made landfall Wednesday.
Patronis stressed caution about donating to imposter crowdfunding websites and usethe Federal Trade Commission's resources on donations and avoiding charity scams.
Both branches of Florida government recommend not to give in to pressure or rush tactics to give money. Those types of acts are more associated with scams.
Be cautious of clicking on links in unsolicited emails, text messages, Facebook, Twitter of any social media fundraising messages.
By clicking on the compromised link, those messages could have harmful impacts to your device.