Attorney General Ashley Moody helping Southwest Floridians avoid donating to scams

Published: December 2, 2022 7:24 PM EST
Updated: December 2, 2022 7:27 PM EST
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning residents about a text message scheme offering a free gift for paying a bill on time.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. Credit: CBS

Floridians give billions of dollars to thousands of charitable organizations every year, but the holiday season is the best time of the year for charities to raise money since people tend to be in a more giving mood.

However, according to a press release from Attorney General Ashley Moody, it can be tough to tell which organizations use the money for the services they advertise versus those that mainly spend donations on salaries, overhead, and others that are outright scams.

Attorney General Moody released her office’s 2022 holiday consumer protection guide, offering tips on determining whether a charity is legitimate or not.

Moody said it’s much easier to avoid bogus charities up front rather than attempting to get your money back later after you have been scammed.

“We are generous in our giving, but we want to make sure we are being smart, so that those we are trying to be generous toward, that’s where our hard-earned money is going, and not too bad actors that are looking to take advantage of a happy season,” Moody said.

“Just as we all know that family members and friends are going to be shopping, those that are looking to take advantage of Floridians: bad actors, scammers, fraudsters, they also know that people are going to be out there doing shopping,” Moody said.

Below are just a few of the tips offered in Moody’s protection guide.

  • When ordering online, ensure a web browser is secure before inputting or submitting payment information. In the address bar, a padlock should appear to signify that a session is secure.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card when shopping online. Credit cards allow consumers to dispute a charge more easily if an item never arrives or a fraudulent charge occurs.
  • Keep receipts and be sure to understand return policies and deadlines to return unwanted items for a full refund.

In addition to avoiding charity scams, the consumer protection guide has information on product recalls and online shopping tips.

Click here to see Ashley Moody’s office’s 2022 holiday consumer protection guide.