RICHMOND (WAVY) – The Virginia Attorney General’s Office and advocates want you to keep an eye out for Hurricane Florence frauds.
Fake charities and crowdfunding pages start popping up after natural disasters, preying on people who want to help.
To avoid that, it is important to read up on the group and see if it is verified online. If a charity says it is based in Virginia and is seeking donations, you can actually check online with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to see if they are registered.
Be wary if the charity just formed after the disaster. Also, if someone is asking for money, don’t be afraid to ask them about what they plan to do with your donation.
“If this person is on the internet asking for money, you have every right as a potential donor to send them a message and say ‘hey, what’s your plan for the money,’” explained Adrienne Gonzalez, founder of GoFraudMe.
Avoid cash donations. For security and tax record purposes, you may want to pay by credit card.
If you notice something fishy about a GoFundMe page, you can always report it to the website itself, or call the Attorney General’s Office.
WHO TO CONTACT
OFFICE OF CHARITABLE AND REGULATORY PROGRAMS
P.O. Box 1163
Richmond, Virginia 23218
OCRP’s Charitable Solicitation Complaint Form: http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/pdf/cscomplaint.pdf
Attorney General’s Consumer Complaint Form: http://www.ag.virginia.gov/consumercomplaintform/form/start
North Carolina Emergency Management also released these tips on Twitter.