TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - In the wake of a disaster, scam artists are ready to take advantage of the situation and rip you off. The Florida Attorney General's Office is warning consumers to look out for phony charities asking for cash donations.
A Florida website called "Check-A-Charity" will help you confirm whether a charity is reputable. On the website, you can check the organization's track record, including any financial information reported to the state.
Susan McGrath, the executive director of the Florida Consumer Action Network, says the public should be cautious about giving money on-line, especially through links in mass emails.
Instead, she recommends going directly to the organization's website to donate.
"If you receive an email with an appeal from a group that’s asking for money, law requires them to list... their registration number. If that’s not included, that’s a red flag,“ said McGrath.
McGrath also suggests doing your homework before handing over your cash. Call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or visit freshfromflorida.com to get information about the charity to which you plan to donate.
The Attorney General’s Office also said price-gouging on items like food, gas, water, and hotel rooms should be reported right away. The office has already gotten 2,000 complaints just this week.
There is an app called "No Scam" which can be downloaded on your smartphone at the links below, or you can call the hotline number, 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (966-7226).
Search your app store for the words “Florida no scam” to find it or click the links below: