CLEVELAND (WJW) – Scenes of destruction across Florida are driving donations for hurricane relief, but before opening your wallet, the Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland urges caution in advance of an expected increase in scam reports.
“You get a call, you get a text, you get an email, and you think, ‘Oh, this sounds good. This is who I want to give to,'” said Ericka Dilworth, director of operations for the Cleveland Better Business Bureau. “Scammers know to take advantage of that. You want to give with your heart and your heart is calling you to give.”
The Better Business Bureau recommends to have a clear understanding of the disaster relief request and what initiatives donations help fund.
Dilworth said scams can range from small to large dollar amounts. Any funds issued to an illegitimate source should be reported to law enforcement as well as the Better Business Bureau.
Avoid donating with cash, Dilworth said. Instead, use a credit card for additional protection to cancel or dispute a charge. Do not donate under a high-pressure pitch, including phone calls, emails or text messages.
“When you see the pictures of the devastation that has happened, people want to give. People that don’t normally give will want to give. Scammers know that and they’re going to try to take advantage of you,” said Dilworth.
For additional information on how to vet charities and disaster relief efforts, go here.