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**Consumer Alert** CFO Jimmy Patronis and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried: 5 Tips to Avoid Charity Scams During Giving Tuesday

12/2/2019

For Immediate Release: Monday, December 2, 2019
Contact: Katie Strickland, 850.413.2842, katie.strickland@myfloridacfo.com
Devin Galetta, 850.413.2842, devin.galetta@myfloridacfo.com
 
**Consumer Alert**
CFO Jimmy Patronis and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried: 5 Tips to Avoid Charity Scams During Giving Tuesday

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried remind Floridians to stay alert when dealing with charitable causes during Giving Tuesday. In 2018, Americans gave an estimated $427.71 billion to charities in the United States. It is important to know the warning signs to avoid falling victim to charity scams.
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Giving Tuesday is a time for people to support charities and give back; however, consumers must be on the lookout for potential fraud. Always verify the charity you're giving to is reputable and never feel pressured into donating. If you have any doubts about a charity, always check it out with Commissioner Fried's Check-A-Charity tool."
 
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said, “Florida is the top state for fraud. That’s why the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, along with the Chief Financial Officer, are working to ensure that the hard-earned money of generous consumers gets to those in need. This Giving Tuesday, we want you to give safely – protect yourself against sham charities, verify you’re giving to reputable organizations, and get up-to-date information on the latest scams to avoid.”
 
5 Tips to Avoid Charity Scams:
 
1. Ask questions. Most online donation campaigns have a comment section, use this tool to ask questions about how the money will be distributed, who the money will go to, and even how much goes directly to support efforts.
2. Watch out for similar charity names. Scammers sometimes create fake charity names that are similar to the actual name of the organization with the hopes of creating confusion among consumers.
3. Pause before donating. Don’t feel pressured into giving an immediate donation. Always take your time to research the organization to ensure you are making the right decision.
4. Use safe forms of payment. Never donate to charities by gift card, wire transfer or fast cash apps such as CashApp or Venmo. Consider paying by credit card for better security.
5. Verify on Check-A-Charity. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) provides a service called Check-A-Charity, which is a website that provides the financial information reported to the department from charitable organizations.

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About CFO Jimmy Patronis 
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).