EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Call for Action is warning of charity scams in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

“The bogus calls and emails and websites are just starting,” Call for Action (CFA) president Shirley Rooker said. “While you may be eager to help people in need, take the time to make sure your donation will really help, not just line the pockets of a crook.”

According to Call for Action, there were more than 1,200 federal prosecutions of disaster fraud following Hurricane Katrina. The consumer advocacy nonprofit said similar charity scams emerge following most natural disasters.

Scam artists most often reach out to their potential victims through email or by telephone. In many cases, the caller claims to be with a charity that is raising money to aid victims of Hurricane Florence, according to CFA.

“We Americans are very generous people and rise to the occasion when there is a tremendous need. It’s up to each of us to make sure our donations are used wisely,” Rooker said.

Questions to ask before you donate:

  • How will my donation be used?
  • Is the caller a third-party fundraiser?
  • What percentage of the donation goes to the charity?
  • Is the organization tax exempt?

Check out charities:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says you should also beware of requests for cash, gift cards or wire  transfers. Instead, pay by credit card or check, keep a record of your donations, and regularly review your statements to make sure you’re only charged the amount you agreed to donate.