FBI Columbia: Stay alert to fraudulent charities after Hurricane Ian

The FBI Columbia field office is urging individuals to be alert to any possible fraudulent charities after last weeks Hurricane Ian impact.

(Courtesy: FBI Columbia)


COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)— The FBI Columbia field office is urging individuals to stay alert to any possible fraudulent disaster charities after last weeks Hurricane Ian impact.

Authorities say they usually receive complaints of disaster and charity schemes after natural disasters and asks individuals to take precaution when donating. Scammers will take advantage of the Hurricane to steal your money, and your personal information.

FBI Columbia listed some tips on how to avoid charity and disaster fraud:

• Scammers may go door to door to target residents in areas affected by hurricanes. They may also call, text, or email with promises to quickly provide aid.  Do not give out personal information without confirming the legitimacy of the person contacting you.

• Government workers are required to carry official identification and show it if requested. Closely scrutinize any ID you see and call the agency directly to confirm a worker’s identity if you are unsure.

• The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal government disaster assistance agencies do not ask for financial information, and there is no fee required to apply for assistance.

• Do your research when it comes to donations. Look at charity reviews online, state regulators of charities, and charity reports and ratings by the Better Business Bureau.

• Give to established charities or groups whose work you know and trust.

• Never make charitable donations by gift card or wire transfer. Credit cards are safer.

• After donating, be sure to review your financial accounts to ensure additional funds are not deducted or charged.

• Don’t always trust your caller ID. Scammers often spoof agency phone numbers. It is always best to research the organization telephone number and call direct to verify. Do not be pressured or rushed to donate because it may be a scam.

• Do not click on links from sources you don’t know. Unknown links could be attempts to download viruses onto your computer or cell phone. Manually type out links instead of clicking on them.

• Be wary of charity names which sound very similar to well-known charities, as well as email addresses that are not consistent with the charity soliciting donations.

• Verify the charity’s website URL as most legitimate charity organization websites use .org, not .com.

If you believe you are a victim of disaster or charity fraud, report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 1-866-720-5721 or online at justice.gov/DisasterComplaintForm.

Categories: Local News, News