PHOENIX - Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich today is warning Arizonans to watch out for hurricane charity scams as they make donations to help those impacted by Hurricane Matthew.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Hurricane Matthew," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "It's important to help any way we can but remember - when a hurricane moves out, scam artists move in and try to take advantage of a person’s generosity. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to do your homework before making a donation."
Attorney General Mark Brnovich offers the following tips to avoid scams when donating to relief efforts:
- Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to guarantee contributions are received and used for the intended purpose.
- Watch out for charities with names that sound similar to well-known organizations. Sometimes these sound-alike names are intended to confuse donors.
- Be cautious of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims of a disaster or as government officials asking for donations.
- Be cautious of anyone asking for a donation by requesting your credit card number or bank account information over the phone unless you already donate to that charity.
- Be wary of unsolicited emails and text messages asking you to donate. Even if the message looks legitimate, it could be a phishing attempt. If you want to donate, contact the charity at a website or phone number you know to be valid.
- Be suspicious of charities that do not want to provide information about their programs and finances. Reputable charities will gladly provide the information requested.
- Verify the legitimacy of the organization. You can check the legitimacy of a charity through www.Charitynavigator.com and the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance at www.give.org.
- If solicited in person, ask to see identification for both the solicitor and the charity.
- Do not pay in cash.
- Remember to ask for a receipt and a statement that the contribution is tax deductible if you wish to deduct the donation from future taxes.
To report suspected charity fraud to the Attorney General’s Office, please file a consumer complaint or contact the Consumer Information and Complaints Unit in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763 and in Tucson at (520) 628-6504.