Making sure your hurricane donations don’t end up in the wrong hands

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When things get scary, look for the helpers. That’s what Mr. Rogers famously said.

But with the helpers come the people who are trying to make money off situations like Hurricane Dorian.

Crowd-sourcing websites make it easy to collect money. And in the wrong hands, maybe it’s too easy.

“People need to be very wary before they donate to personal causes,” said Rich Kolko, WINK News Safety and Security Specialist.

Kolko adds, even if it seems like a well-known organization, call to make sure it’s actually them.

“Scammers get pretty good at spoofing websites, adding an extra letter, an extra dot,” Koko said. “You got to be real careful to make sure if you get a link in an email asking for money, it’s the actual site.”

People looking to donate will want to make sure the charity is registered in Florida with the state’s Check-A-Charity website.

MORE: Check-A-Charity — Know How Your Money Is Being Spent 

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services requires all charities that solicit in the state to register. Any nonprofit organization that calls and asks for money to residents in the state of Florida should be on this website. Search by name or license/registration number. The listings provide information on revenues, expenses and what percentage of money is used for the charity’s mission versus salaries, administrative costs and fundraising.

Other websites like Charity Navigator, BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Watch rate or break down how organizations spend their money. This means showing consumers how much money goes toward the charitable cause versus administrative costs.


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