Fraud Alert: Charity Scams

By: Sheriff Carmine Marceno

Regrettably, the United States and nearby nations are struggling with catastrophic fires, earthquakes, and illness. Twelve U.S. states are battling 104 large fires that have already burned 2.4 million acres. A 7.2 magnitude earthquake has taken the lives of thousands of our neighbors in Haiti and well over one million island residents are struggling with injuries, homelessness, food shortages and so much more. So many have suffered losses as a result of the pandemic that continues to devastate Florida and the nation. During these difficult times, reputable and remarkable agencies escalate their efforts to provide assistance to those in need.

Sadly, scammers and fraudsters recognize that generous, caring people can be fooled and cheated out of their hard-earned money in the name of “charity.” Scammers utilize phone contacts, text messages, and social media posts, all claiming to provide critical aid to those in need, only to steal the donations that they collect.

Never feel pressured to make immediate decisions regarding charitable donations.  The reputable agencies are happy to have you investigate their efforts online and/or to verify their authenticity through sites such as the I.R.S. database of charities (, Charity Navigator ( or Guide Star (

Never send gift cards, cryptocurrency, or cash in response to phone, text, or online solicitations…NEVER!

Never provide personal, banking, or identifying information unless you are absolutely certain that you know the agency or individual that you are dealing with!

Lastly, visit ( to review evaluations of the charity to which you are considering making a donation.

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