Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is encouraging wise giving as the world recognizes International Charity Fraud Awareness Week (ICFAW).
ICFAW is a yearly observance focused on preventing charity fraud and ensuring donations go to intended causes. This year’s observance comes as generous people in Florida, and across the country, are looking for ways to help those heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and hurricanes that have wreaked havoc in Florida and other states along the Gulf of Mexico.
“2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges, but as a fifth-generation Floridian, I know that when disaster hits our state, we stand united to help our neighbors. As we all do our part to help those impacted by COVID-19 and Hurricane Sally, please remember to take steps to ensure donations go toward providing the relief and support you intend,” Moody said on Monday.
“In recognition of International Charity Fraud Awareness Week, I am sharing tips and resources to help Floridians give with their heads along with their hearts—to prevent charity fraud and help ensure donations help those in need, not those trying to exploit good-hearted Floridians,” she added.
Moody is asking Floridians to follow the tips below before donating to a charity:
Be proactive and donate to a reputable organization, rather than waiting to be solicited;
Use Charity Navigator to research a charity and consult the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by going to FDACS.gov/ConsumerServices and clicking Check-A-Charity or by calling 1(800) HELP-FLA. Use these resources to help determine whether a charity is registered to solicit funds in Florida and what percentage of the charity’s revenue goes to providing services;
Avoid solicitors using high-pressure tactics or who hesitate to provide more information about a charitable organization;
If donating online, be sure to confirm the identity of the recipient and be careful when providing
any personal contact and financial information;
Be wary of charities with similar-sounding names. Some phony charities may attempt to use names that resemble legitimate, well-known charities; and
Call the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at 1(703) 276-0100 to determine if there are any complaints against a charity before you donate.
Additional tips and information regarding charity fraud and other scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on Attorney General Moody’s Consumer Alert webpage—MyFloridaLegal.
Floridians can report charity scams to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or visiting MyFloridaLegal.com. Charity scams should also be reported to FDACS by calling 1(800) HELP-FLA or visiting FreshFromFlorida.com.