It was heartbreaking to watch the reports of Hurricane Ian as it landed on the west coast of Florida. The damage and losses left in its wake will be overwhelming and catastrophic for Floridians; the toll will become clearer over the next few days. While we all feel a sense of hurt and loss for them and want to help.

Many organizations will mobilize to offer assistance to victims in the days and weeks to come. At the same time, scammers will be looking to tug on our heartstrings to try to get us to send money to fraudulent organizations pretending to help the victims of the hurricane.

This is an old trick to prey on good-natured individuals to divert funds when we are most vulnerable [ view related posts]. Help those in need, but be wary of scammers in the process. Here are some tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Research the organization you are interested in donating to, and make sure you are on the organization’s legitimate website when donating through a website.
  • Donate to charities you have donated to before, which you know to be legitimate and experienced in responding to disasters.
  • Be wary of any solicitations for donations of gift cards, cash, cryptocurrency or wires.
  • Be wary of responding to a random email requesting a donation and don’t click on links or attachments provided in a solicitation.
  • Don’t trust a solicitation in an email or text, even if a legitimate charity’s logo is included.
  • Be cautious about donating to crowdsource funding sites.

Donating to help victims is a worthy effort. Use these tips to make sure your donation gets into the right hands and makes a difference.