CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Officials are warning people to be careful when considering making a donation to fundraising efforts, that have mobilized to assist the people of Maui.
22News spoke with the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information in Springfield, Milagros Johnson. She says it’s not uncommon for these perpetrators to think of ways to take advantage of those who want to help.
Any charity that is asking for donations in Hawaii must be registered with the Department of the Attorney General. Johnson suggests donating to organizations that have disaster relief experience, like the American Red Cross, in order to ensure that donations are used for their intended purpose.
You should avoid giving away any banking information to solicited emails, texts, and calls. It is also recommended that you verify a source’s credibility by checking their website.
“Usually they are a .org, you also want to check with the state where they are operating out of to make sure they are licensed,” said Johnson. “You can also perhaps contact the secretary of state for that or even the attorney general of that state.”
If you think you are being harassed by a fake organization, it can be reported to the Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5720.