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  1. Hurricane

Scammer for fraudulent Hurricane Dorian relief fund poses as Denis Phillips, meteorologist says

The ABC Action News chief meteorologist, known for his hurricane rules, warned followers about the scam in a Facebook post.
Someone posing as forecaster Denis Phillips is asking people for money for a fraudulent hurricane relief fund. [Facebook]
Published Sep. 3
Updated Sep. 3

Click here to read this story in Spanish.

Hurricanes can bring out the best in people: welcoming evacuees into their homes, helping neighbors clean up or rebuild, volunteering to assist with relief efforts.

They also can bring out the worst: fights over water or gasoline, looting, price-gouging.

At the nexus of the two are scammers preying on people’s generosity for their own personal gain.

RELATED: High pressure: TV meteorologists try to predict an unpredictable Dorian

A particularly devious example surfaced Monday.

ABC Action News chief meteorologist Denis Phillips, whose frequent posts are a source of comfort for many during hurricane season, posted on Facebook that someone posing as him had asked people for money to fund a fraudulent Bahamas hurricane relief site.

I can't believe I have to write this, it's so disheartening. Someone has created fake posts, looking like me, and is...

Posted by Denis Phillips on Monday, September 2, 2019

In a post published around 10 p.m. Monday, Phillips warned his Facebook followers about the scam, cautioning, “DO NOT SEND THEM ANY MONEY.” He shared a link to a story about trusted sites and organizations where people can donate to help hurricane victims.

“I can’t believe I have to write this,” Phillips began. “This is so disheartening.”

Phillips is known for his hurricane rules, intended to lessen hype about approaching storms and “ease a few folks minds," he writes on his Facebook page. He is best known for his rule No. 7: “Stop freaking out ... until I tell you to. We’re fine.”

RELATED: Dorian got you thirsty for Crooked Thumb’s Denis Phillips beer? Good luck finding a can

2019 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane

PREPARE YOUR STUFF: Get your documents and your data ready for a storm

BUILD YOUR KIT: The stuff you’ll need to stay safe — and comfortable — for the storm

PROTECT YOUR PETS: Your pets can’t get ready for a storm. That’s your job

NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter

What Michael taught the Panhandle and Tampa Bay

What the Panhandle’s top emergency officials learned from Michael

‘We’re not going to give up.’ What a school superintendent learned from Michael

What Tampa Bay school leaders fear most from a storm

Tampa Bay’s top cops fear for those who stay behind

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