Ida scams

Attorney General Mark Brnovich is warning Arizonans to watch out for Hurricane Ida charity scams. There are already reports of fake organizations popping up asking people for money to help victims in Louisiana.

“It’s disgusting how fraudsters waste no time after a natural disaster to capitalize on people’s goodwill,” Brnovich said. “Arizonans are very generous, and I want to make sure they are donating to a legitimate charity that has experience helping victims quickly.”

Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana on Aug. 29 and has caused widespread catastrophic damage. While many are eager to help those in need, Brnovich wants consumers to do their homework before donating.

Brnovich offers the following tips to avoid scams:

• Never give on impulse. Don’t give in to high-pressure requests for contributions or donations. Legitimate charities will not pressure you for an immediate donation and are happy to provide information about their charity for you to review.

• Do your research about the organization and ask questions. For example, how will the funds reach those in need?

• Obtain written information (including annual reports) about a charity before you donate. Always know how much of your donation will actually go to the charity itself versus administrative costs. You can find out more about a charity through Charity Navigator’s website or the Better Business Bureau’s give.org.

• Do not give donations in cash or by wire transfer.

• Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on a third party. 

• Watch out for charities with names that sound similar to well-known organizations. Oftentimes, these sound-alike names are scams.

• Be cautious of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims of a disaster or as government officials asking for donations.

• Do not give unsolicited callers your credit card number or bank account information over the phone, even if the call appears to be legitimate. 

• Do not click on links in unsolicited emails and text messages asking you to donate. Even if a message seems legitimate, it could be a phishing attempt. If you want to donate, contact the charity at a website or phone number you know to be valid.

• Be cautious when donating to a GoFundMe fundraiser. It is common for scammers to set up GoFundMe fundraisers after highly publicized events and then disappear with the money.

If you believe you have been a victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Arizona Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at 602-542-5763. Bilingual consumer protection staff is available to assist.