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In Wake Of Hermine, Florida Officials Want Public Mindful Of Charity-Related Scams

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FreshFromFlorida.com

During the time of a disaster, the state usually sees a spike in charitable giving. But, Florida officials are asking people to be mindful of charity-related scams, in the aftermath of Hurricane Hermine. 

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services spokeswoman Jenn Meale says there are a few tips people should follow to protect themselves from common charity-related scams.

“The most important thing the consumer can do is go to FreshFromFloida.com and peruse the Gift Giver’s Guide,” she said. “Through the Gift Giver’s Guide, the consumer can find how much money is going to go toward individuals the organization claims to help vs. overall expenses. Additionally, consumers can ask questions, like ‘who the people work for, whether they’re registered, and where the money is going to be spent?’”

Back in 2014, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam also worked with the legislature to strengthen charity-related scam laws. That includes requiring even more enhanced financial reporting for charitable organizations that raise more than $50,000 in the wake of a disaster. Meale says that law also applies in the case of Hurricane Hermine. In addition to visiting FreshFromFlorida.com, anyone who wants to report a suspicious charity can call 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352).

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.