Fake Charity Scams Relating to Hurricane Assistance
While there’s been an enormous wave of support across the country for the victims of hurricanes, you should be aware of crooks who take advantage of this generosity by impersonating charities to get money or private information. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, email, or in-person solicitations.
Criminals often send emails that steer people to bogus websites that appear to be affiliated with legitimate charitable causes. These sites frequently look like the sites of legitimate charities or use names similar to that charity. The fraudulent websites may even claim to be affiliated with legitimate charities to persuade people to send money or provide personal financial information that can be used to steal identities or financial resources.
You can avoid these scam artists by following these tips:
Complaints may also be filed with the Federal Trade Commission at https://ftc.gov/complaint.
- Do your research to make sure your money goes to reputable organizations. Visit the Secretary of State’s Charities on-line lookup to verify the charity has registered to fundraise in Washington State as required by law
- Only donate to charities you recognize.
- Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Some phony charities use names or websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate charities.
- Don’t give out personal financial information, such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords, to anyone who solicits a contribution. Scam artists may use this information to steal your identity and money.
- Never give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the donation.
- Report complaints online with the Washington State Attorney General at https://fortress.wa.gov/atg/formhandler/ago/ComplaintForm.aspx or call 1-800-551-4636.