Avoid Scams in the Aftermath of Mother Nature

As recovery efforts continue in areas hit hard by mother nature’s recent bi-coastal punch, scammers are not far behind. They see tragedy as opportunity, and they'll use the devastation caused by severe storms — like Typhoon Merbok, Hurricane Fiona and now Hurricane Ian — to try to take advantage of those affected as well as of anyone who tries to help financially. That's why it's so important to know how to spot the scams that often follow natural disasters.

If you suffered damage from one of the recent storms: Scammers may approach you to clean up debris, pose as a government official, or offer to help you get aid for a fee. Walk away from anyone who demands personal information or money upfront. That’s always a scam. Find more on how to deal with and recover from disasters at ftc.gov/weatheremergencies.

If you want to donate to victims of the recent Hurricane: Here’s how to make sure your money goes to the people you want to help:

  • Don't assume that familiar-sounding names or messages posted on social media are legitimate. 
  • Donate to charities YOU know and trust and with a proven record of dealing with disasters.
  • Be cautious about giving to individuals on crowdfunding sites. It’s safest to give to someone you personally know and trust. 
  • If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, by wiring money or cryptocurrency --- DON'T DO IT! Instead, pay by credit card, which offers more protections, or by check.

Learn more about how to avoid charity scams at ftc.gov/charity. And report charity or weather-related scams to the FTC: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.