(CNN) – As victims continue to be reported missing in the wreckage of a Florida condo collapse, authorities are sending out a warning against crooks setting up bogus charity sites in hopes of profiting from this tragedy.
âWe have seen the best in people. Unfortunately, you also see the worst in people, âsaid Jimmy Patronis, Florida State CFO.
Anyone wishing to donate for relief efforts should be wary.
âFraudulent GoFundMe accounts are already popping up,â he said. “We once had a con artist who developed some kind of non-profit organization in New Jersey who tried to create this opportunity to steal people’s information and identity.”
To avoid scams, the Federal Trade Commission has some helpful tips.
- Block unwanted calls and texts.
- Never give out personal or financial information in response to an unexpected request.
- Resist the pressure to act immediately. Legitimate businesses give you time to make a decision.
- Before giving, talk to someone you trust. It might help you know if you are dealing with a scam.
In Surfside, Florida, officials say the Volunteer Florida website is the state-sponsored way to donate money to this tragedy.
âIf you donate money to a GoFundMe account, you might as well be throwing money out your car window. I strongly advise against it, âPatronis said. âYou can’t do enough due diligence to make sure your GoFundMe donation goes to a worthy cause. “
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, you can report it to Fraud Free Florida authorities.
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