During the time of a disaster the state usually sees a spike in charitable giving. But Florida officials are asking people to be mindful of charity-related scams in the aftermath of Hurricane Hermine.
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services spokeswoman Jenn Meale says there are a few tips people should follow to protect themselves from common charity-related scams.
“The most important thing the consumer can do is go to FreshFromFlorida.com and peruse the Gift Giver’s Guide,” she said. “Through the Gift Giver’s Guide, the consumer can find how much money is going to go toward individuals the organization claims to help vs. overall expenses. Additionally, consumers can ask questions, like ‘who the people work for, whether they’re registered, and where the money is going to be spent?’”
Back in 2014, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam also worked with the legislature to strengthen charity-related scam laws. That includes requiring even more enhanced financial reporting for charitable organizations that raise more than $50,000 in the wake of a disaster. Meale says that law also applies in the case of Hurricane Hermine. In addition to visiting FreshFromFlorida.com, anyone who wants to report a suspicious charity can call 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352).