Consumer Alert: Beware of donation scams during ongoing Coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus

FILE – In this April 3, 2019, file photo a tip box is filled with U.S. currency in New York. Regularly checking in on your money is important. But it’s a task that’s easy to skip if your finances seem fine or if thinking about money stresses you out. So build a habit of quick and simple check-ins that you won’t mind repeating. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

HONOLULU (KHON2) – As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, we’ve seen the good in people with businesses and individuals donating to those in need. Now, officials are urging the public to make sure their money is actually going to a good cause.

The Better Business Bureau says times of crisis open many avenues for scammers to prey on their next victims.

“You donate and they pocket it and if they get enough people to donate it really starts to add up,” said Roseann Freitas, Better Business Bureau Marketplace Manager. “Second if they get any of your personal information, then down the road you could be a target of identity theft.”

If you’re donating online, stop and do your research first.

“First of all make sure that’s a legitimate website. We all know that they mimic and they make it look similar so whenever, don’t click on any links to that website type it in directly whoever it is you’re going to give to.”

Meanwhile, we’ve seen many local businesses and individuals step up to help.

“Make sure if the company is not necessarily a charity but they’re doing something good to help check them out are they registered in the state of Hawaii, what are their reviews? Are they a company that’s been here awhile? Make sure you know who they are as well.”

Before donating money, check where your donation is going to. Also, verify that organization, person or business has permission to accept donations.

If you fall victim to a donation scam there are several authorities you can report it to.

“You want to report any scams to the BBB, to the Federal Trade Commission and to the state of Hawaii at the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

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