State officials urged Mainers to beware of scams when making donations to hurricane relief organizations after the disastrous storms in Texas and Florida.
Gov. Paul LePage and Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Commissioner Anne Head encouraged potential donors to research organizations before making any contributions.
“Because Maine families support charities following natural disasters, it’s important to be mindful that criminals are active in taking advantage of the kindness of others,” said LePage in a news release.
Many charitable organizations are required to register with the state of Maine. Information about those charities and any enforcement actions against them is available on the state’s website, at www.maine.gov/pfr.
Mainers can also call the Maine Charitable Solicitations Program with questions or concerns at (207) 624-8624. The National Center for Disaster Fraud collects complaints about fraudulent activities on its hotline, 866-720-5721.
Head also urged caution in interactions with anyone asking for a donation. She said to ask detailed questions and seek printed information about unknown charities, to never send cash or wire money when requested to do so, to keep receipts and to report any concerns to law enforcement authorities.
“Charitable scams aren’t new but they increase following natural disasters and other tragedies,” said Head. “Guidance and resources are available to assist the public in making sure contributions are going to legitimate causes.”