Donating To Harvey Relief? Read This Now

Elias Hubbard
August 30, 2017

Scammers are apparently exploiting Hurricane Harvey to dupe people with phishing campaigns. Natural disasters get a lot of attention in the early days, but the cleanup in Houston will be lengthy, and needs will continue far into the future. The BBB vets charities to see if your money is really going where you want it to.

To help prevent donators from being ripped off in the wake of Harvey, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission this week issued a reminder to do research before donating.

In addition to donations, the Salvation Army is looking for volunteers who can respond to situation like Hurricane Harvey.

"Everybody wants to help; everybody is seeing all of this coverage on the television", said Better Business Bureau of Upstate NY Communications Director Melanie McGovern. A button for more information takes viewers to CNN.com.

Donations often pour in immediately after disaster strikes and then decrease during the long-recovery process. People should instead give by using a credit card or a check, and if using a check, write the official name of the charity on it.

An average of 91 cents for every dollar is used for humanitarian services and programs, and only a small amount is used by the American Red Cross for fundraising and management. That is why the best approach is to go to the charity's website directly. The link could be the hacker's method for infiltrating your computer and stealing information, the agency warned.

Watch out for social media ads that can link you to scam websites. Check out a group's website to find out where they're located. So it says pay attention if someone calls you on the phone for example.

The FTC also suggests calling the organization and asking what percentage of your donation will go to the actual cause. The charity collapsed amid allegations of fraud and mismanagement.

"They use names that sound very legitimate", Hawthorne said.

"If someone makes a financial donation and they want to help the folks that have been affected by Hurricane Harvey, we are about process those donations into true support", says Esther Shepperd from the American Red's Cross Savannah Chapter.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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