In the wake of the deadly mudslide in Washington State, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, reminds consumers that scams often follow disasters. If you’re asked to make a charitable donation to help people in disaster-affected areas, before you give, be sure your donations are going to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.
Unfortunately, legitimate charities face competition from scammers who either collect for a charity that doesn’t exist or aren’t honest about how their “charity” will use the money you give. Like legitimate charities, they might appeal for donations in person, by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or on social networking sites. For more information, read the FTC consumer blog post, Helping victims of the Washington State mudslide — Make sure your donations count and, for a list of groups that can help you research a charity, go to Charity Scams.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.