Pennsylvania – Although many good people are coming together to help support those who are affected by Hurricane Florence, there are unfortunately also scam artists who will take advantage of your kindness.

If someone asks you to donate to storm recovery efforts, take the time to research the organization. You can research charities online with sites like www.charitynavigator.org or www.guidestar.org.

Additional tips to keep in mind when giving to disaster relief organizations:

  • Never feel pressure to donate immediately.
  • Be suspicious of charities that ask for donations in cash or via wire transfer.
  • Consider paying by credit card, which is the safest option for security and tax purposes.
  • Ask how much of an individual donation directly supports hurricane relief.
  • If the charity is unfamiliar, gather as much information as possible about the organization.
  • Never rely on a group’s sympathetic sounding name or its similarity to a well-known, reputable entity.
  • Be wary of unsolicited calls that thank you for donations that you do not recall making.
  • Verify any local chapter is authorized to solicit funds on behalf of its parent organization.
  • Go directly to a charity or organization’s website instead of clicking on a link to the desired group.
  • Any online contribution website should starts with https://. The “s” verifies a secure connection, making it less likely for personal information to be stolen.
  • Be wary of any charity refusing to detail its mission, use of donations or proof of tax deductibility.
  • Keep records, including a letter confirming the charitable status of the organization, for contributions in excess of $250.