AG Josh Hawley Encourages Missourians To Donate Wisely Following Hurricanes

Oct 11, 2018, 11:49 AM
Oct 11, 2018, 11:47 AM

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Hawley today reminded Missourians to donate wisely in the aftermath of catastrophic weather events. Hurricanes Michael’s and Florence’s devastating paths have left thousands of people without homes and many more in need of basic necessities and assistance. Relief funds have been set up and support is pouring in from all over the country.

Attorney General Hawley warns Missouri consumers to watch out for fake charities that might be asking for donations for victims of the hurricanes. Scammers can use disasters to create fake websites or social media accounts and will also email and call consumers to ask for donations.

“When any sort of disaster hits, the natural reaction is to ask, ‘how can we help?’” Hawley said.  “People want to give, but it is important to donate to a legitimate charity that can and will help disaster victims. Unfortunately, there are those that will take advantage of this situation and use it for personal gain rather than provide the promised service or benefit to victims.”

Hawley offered the following tips to help consumers donate to hurricane relief:

  • Do your research before giving and ask questions. Find out how much of your donation will actually help disaster victims. If your questions are not answered, send your donation elsewhere.
  • Look for charities that have proven track records after disasters or a history of serving the affected area. Be wary of charities that seem to pop up right after a disaster.
  • Crowdfunding sites, like GoFundMe, allow excellent nonprofits to rapidly raise millions for disaster victims. But be aware their platforms can be twisted by pop-up scammers pretending to be nonprofits or disaster victims. As with all donations, take a little time to be sure your generosity actually helps those in need.
  • Avoid unsolicited solicitations by email, pop-up messages, social media ads, and phone. Do not click on any links you receive in emails or on social media. Go directly to the charity’s webpage. 
  • Never send cash. There is no guarantee is will make it to the charity

To report suspected charity fraud, please contact the Attorney General Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222 or by submitting a claim online.