WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Many Floridians want to donate to help victims of Hurricane Ian and security experts are reminding consumers of the warning signs of fake donation scams.
“The devastation is 100%,” Kathleen Morales told WPTV.
Morales, who lives in West Palm Beach, loaded up her car with blankets, cleaning supplies and clothing for victims of Hurricane Ian Wednesday morning.
“It’s just astounding to me the suffering that everybody overall is experiencing,” Morales said.
It’s been a week since Hurricane Ian ravished Fort Myers and Morales wanted to help out, without giving out any financial information.
So, she decided to donate items instead of money.
“The first thing about making donations is to know who you’re dealing with,” Ian Marlow told WPTV.
Marlow is the CEO of cybersecurity company FiTechGelb. He said donating money in times of crisis is perfectly fine, but you just need to be careful.
“The funny part about this is the scams are always the same. So, it’s the emails that come directly to your mailbox that say click here and donate," Marlow said. "The text messages that randomly come from people you don’t know.”
So, if you’re considering donating money to Hurricane Ian relief efforts online, always research charities before donating.
Cyber security experts said to avoid aggressive solicitors who claim to have urgent deadlines, don’t click on any suspicious links, use a credit card when donating for extra protections and consider giving to a well-established charity.
You can also search charities to see if they are legitimate at charitynavigator.org.
“It is a little bit more work, but at the end of the day, we know that we’re helping people,” Marlow said.