In the wake of Hurricane Michael, many people in Florida’s Panhandle, Georgia and North and South Carolina have been left without homes, businesses, cars and material possessions.
People and organizations across the globe have stepped up to try to help people rebuild their lives.
And while many are trying to do the right thing, some use disasters to scam people out of money, according to Pam Bondi, Florida’s attorney general.
“I will not tolerate anyone exploiting this disaster to take advantage of those in need,” she said, urging people to call 1-866-9NO-SCAM.
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Here are some tips from the attorney general’s office to avoid scams:
▪ Do not fall victim to anyone that puts pressure on you to donate or cannot provide adequate information on a charity.
▪ Scammers sometimes use similar names to reputable charities to trick people into donating. Always be aware of exactly who you are supporting.
▪ Always advised to donate to an established charity.
▪ If in doubt, call the Florida Attorney General’s Office or the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service, 1-800-HELP-FLA to check if the charity is legitimate.
Here are some Hurricane Michael Relief efforts underway:
▪ Aventura and multiple local and state law enforcement agencies together with Mobile Mike, I-Heart Radio andAventura Mall are collecting new generators, new boxed chainsaws, new flashlights, new batteries, baby diapers, baby food, baby wipes (only unopened boxed items, no single items), large boxes of sealed canned foods (no single or bagged items), new blankets, cots, sleeping bags, large unopened bags of pet food or full boxes of canned pet food. Donations can be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. through Tuesday at Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd. in the parking lot across the Macy’sMen’s Home Store.
▪ The Greater Miami Jewish Federation has established an emergency relief fund to collect money for those impacted by the hurricane. To donate, visit, jewishmiami.org.
▪ Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami is collecting money to help hurricane victims with rent food and other necessities. To donate, visit www.ccadm.org.
▪ Feeding South Florida is working to help Feeding America sister food banks in the impacted areas by to coordinate food, water and supplies. Besides monetary donations, people are asked to donate pop-top canned meals, instant soup, meal mixes and cereal. The organization is also looking for volunteers to help sort items for victims in the Panhandle from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Feeding South Florida’s Main Warehouse2501 SW 32 Terr. in Pembroke Park. Items can be dropped at the warehouse from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. For more information and to register visit volunteer.feedingsouthflorida.org.
▪ Red Cross is collecting money to aid hurricane victims. To donate, visit www.redcross.org.