FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2019
For More Information, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
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Alabama Attorney General
Attorney General Steve Marshall Encourages Generosity, Urges
Vigilance When Donating to Groups to Aid Storm Victims
AG with Gov. Ivey, Local Officials in Beauregard Today to Survey Storm Damage
(MONTGOMERY) – In the wake of horrific tornadoes that took nearly two dozen lives in
eastern Alabama this week, many Alabamians are struggling to recover, while others are
looking for ways to help those who lost everything. Attorney General Steve Marshall joined
Governor Kay Ivey and local officials in Beauregard today to survey storm damage.
Attorney General Marshall urged the public to exercise caution before giving money to
charities, to ensure that their money really goes to help tornado victims. He also reminded the
public that Alabama’s price-gouging laws are in effect due to the State of Emergency declared
by Governor Kay Ivey.
“Alabamians are blessed with an indomitable spirit of compassion to help others,” said
Attorney General Marshall. “Therefore, it’s not surprising that many want to contribute to their
neighbors’ recovery from the recent devastating tornadoes. Sadly, criminals often seek to profit
from others’ tragedies, therefore we must be vigilant in our charitable giving. Before
contributing, please take steps to verify that your money will go to help storm victims and not
to fund fraudsters. Know and use the resources available to check the legitimacy of charitable
organizations so that your donations really do go to help those in need. And if you do suspect
someone is trying to illegally solicit contributions, notify law enforcement or my office.”
Resources for Consumers
Consumers may find tips for careful and wise giving at www.ftc.gov/charity. Attorney General
Marshall recommends that consumers take the following precautions:
Do your research
- Search the Alabama charities database on the Attorney General’s website.
- Search the charity’s name online with words like “complaint” and “scam.”
- Check out the charity’s ratings with groups like the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity
Navigator, and Charity Watch.
- What are the charity’s website, address, and mission*
- How much of your donation will go directly to services, rather than fundraising*
- If you wish your donation to be used for Alabama’s tornado victims, ask if the money
will be spent for this in particular and not for the charity’s overall purposes.
501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300
www.ago.state.al.us Page 2 of 2
Be careful how you pay
- If someone asks you to send them cash, wire money, donate by gift card, or leave money
under your front doormat for pickup, don’t do it! That’s how scammers often ask you to
pay. It’s safer to pay by credit card or check.
- If you’re donating online, check that the webpage where you enter your payment
information has “https” in the web address. That means your information is transmitted
- Legitimate charities will give you a receipt with the amount of your donation. Keep that
record and check your credit card and bank statements to make sure you’re only charged
for the donation you wanted to make.
Watch out for scammers’ tricks
- Scammers spoof caller ID to make their fundraising calls look like they are from your local
area code, or from an organization you know.
- Scammers pressure you into donating immediately before you have time to do research.
Reputable charities do not use coercive tactics and welcome your donation at any time.
- Scammers will thank you for a donation you don’t remember making. Scammers do that to
trick you into thinking you actually made a pledge and to guilt you into sending money.
Donation Requests Through Social Media and Crowdfunding Sites
While many requests for donations through social media and crowdfunding sites are legitimate,
some are scams. For example, there are people who misuse real pictures and stories to get you
to donate, but the money goes into their own pockets. Crowdfunding sites often have little
control over who uses them and how donations are spent. Research before you give.
Don’t assume that solicitations on social media or crowdfunding sites are legitimate – even
when they are shared or liked by your friends. Do your own research. And call or contact your
friends offline to ask them about the post they shared.
State of Emergency/Price-Gouging Laws
The Governor’s recent declaration of a State of Emergency activated Alabama’s price-gouging
laws. As people recover and rebuild from storms, they should be wary of those who would
prey upon them through crimes such as price gouging and home-repair fraud. Although what
constitutes an unconscionable price is not specifically set forth in state law, a price that is 25
percent or more above the average price charged in the same area within the last 30 days –
unless the increase can be attributed to a reasonable cost – is a prima facie case of
unconscionable pricing. The penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 per violation, and those found to
have willfully and continuously violated this law may be prohibited from doing business in
Consumers and officials can report concerns of alleged fraud or illegal price gouging to the
Attorney General’s Consumer Interest Division by calling 1-800-392-5658, by writing to 501
Washington Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama 36130, or by visiting