SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Floridians give billions of dollars to thousands of charitable organizations each year.
The holiday season is the best time of year for charities to raise money, as people tend to be in a more giving mood. However, it can be tough to tell which organizations actually use the money for the services they advertise, versus those that mainly spend donations on salaries and overhead and others still that are outright scams.
Attorney General Pam Bondi has released her office’s 2018 holiday consumer protection guide with various tips on how to determine whether a charity is legitimate or not. Bondi says charity scams are always an issue during the Christmas season, but in the wake of Hurricane Michael’s devastation, opportunistic crooks are even more likely to take advantage of someone’s generosity.
“So many great organizations have been opened and are helping all the folks in the Panhandle to not only reestablish their lives, but to have a great holiday season as well. But, if someone calls you over the phone and asks you for money, check it out first," said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “Charity scams, sadly, are on the rise during the holidays. So, be very careful before you give anything to anyone over the phone who solicits information from you. Never give out your personal information over the phone.”
Bondi adds that it is much easier to avoid bogus charities up front, rather than attempting to get your money back later after you have been scammed. In addition to charity scams, the consumer protection guide has information on product recalls and online shopping tips. You can download the guide by visiting the attorney general’s website at www.MyFloridaLegal.com.