**CONSUMER ALERT** CFO Jimmy Patronis: Beware of Hurricane Ian Charity Scams, Donate to Florida Disaster Fund
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis warns individuals and businesses looking to contribute to Hurricane Ian relief efforts to be cautious of imposter GoFundMe style crowdfunding websites and charity scams and encourages Floridians to donate to the Florida Disaster Fund. First Lady Casey DeSantis announced Thursday that within hours of activation, the Florida Disaster Fund received over $10 million in donations to support communities impacted by Hurricane Ian. To contribute, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “I’ve seen disasters bring out some of the best in humanity but unfortunately the worst in some. As we saw during the tragic Surfside building collapse, scam artists will use the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian to scam people for their own personal gain. It’s absolutely despicable, and the best way to avoid falling victim is to do your research before giving to any recovery fund or charity. Crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe are often littered with fraud and scams. Do not give to a cause unless you have verified its legitimacy and never feel pressured to donate. If a charity forces you to donate in cash or by gift card, that’s a scam. To avoid fraud, I encourage anyone who wants to give to those across Florida who were impacted by Hurricane Ian to donate to FloridaDisasterFund.org. Within hours of activation, this fund received more than $10 million in donations that will go directly to those impacted by this historic storm. I’m so thankful for the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis in this mission to aid fellow Floridians in need. We are all in this together and please consider giving to the Florida Disaster Fund today.”
Tips to avoid charity scams from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
- Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. That’s something scammers do.
- Some scammers try to trick you into paying them by thanking you for a donation that you never made.
- Scammers can change caller ID to make a call look like it’s from a local area code.
- If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it. That’s how scammers ask you to pay.
- To be safer, pay by credit card or check.
- It’s a good practice to keep a record of all donations. And review your statements closely to make sure you’re only charged the amount you agreed to donate – and that you’re not signed up to make a recurring donation.
- Before clicking on a link to donate online, make sure you know who is receiving your donation. Read Donating Through Crowdfunding, Social Media, and Fundraising Platforms for more information.