Charity scammers are pretending to raise money for Surfside

State attorney wants you to report them

(Gerald Herbert, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SURFSIDE, Fla. – Charitable donations have made a massive impact after the Surfside condo collapse, but Miami-Dade County’s state attorney warns the community to be on high alert for people trying to take advantage of that criminally.

Katherine Fernandez Rundle cautioned Friday against donating when contacted by someone unsolicited over the phone.

“With the tragic Champlain Towers condominium collapse so fresh on our minds, and with the death of so many emotionally devastating our community, I know that we all want to do everything we can to help the victims, their families and those dedicated first responders who have spent endless days sifting through the rubble hoping to find survivors,” the state attorney said in a news release. “Unfortunately, even in these most devastating moments, there are some individuals who may see the kindness and generosity of our community as a potential source of easy cash by running a charitable scam.”

She suggested researching any charity’s legitimacy before contributing, particularly when contacted directly by someone you don’t know.

Organizations that include Charity Navigator, Charity Watch and GuideStar provide info on legitimate funds.

You can also see a list of many legitimate ways to help on our website by clicking here.

Fernandez Rundle’s office says: “If you are contacted by someone who you suspect is operating a charitable scam, please contact our Hotline at (305) 547-3300 so that our investigators and prosecutors can review your concerns. You may also send an email address to Hotline@miamisao.com. Complainants will receive an automatic reply that the information submitted will be reviewed. Additional information can be found on the Florida Division of Consumer Services website.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has also warned about scams and set up resources to combat them.