FTC Warns Consumers About Charity Scams In the Wake of Hurricane Florence

As Hurricane Michael barrels toward Florida’s Gulf Coast, scammers continue to con people who want to help those affected by past hurricanes. Case in point: The Federal Trade Commission and its state and local partners are getting reports about sham charities following Hurricane Florence’s devastating impact on North and South Carolina. To make sure your donation counts, and to avoid fraud, follow these tips:

  • Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
  • Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting the National Association of State Charity Officials. If they should be registered, but they’re not, consider donating through another charity.
  • Don’t assume that charity messages posted on social media are legitimate. Research the organization yourself.
  • When texting to donate, confirm the number with the source before you donate. The charge will show up on your mobile phone bill, but donations are not immediate.
  • If you know the charity is legitimate and you are ready to donate, designate the disaster so you can ensure your funds are going to disaster relief, rather than a general fund that the charity could use for any of its work.

If you think you’ve donated to a sham charity, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Your complaints help us stop rip-off artists and scammers.

To learn more, go to ftc.gov/charity. And help us spread the word. Share this post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your own blog, or add it to your website.


How to verify a hurricane relief charity.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educateconsumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaintonline or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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