Avoiding getting scammed by charities

Flooded homes are shown near Lake Houston following Hurricane Harvey

If so, you may want to consider "avoiding the middleman" and giving directly to those that have a presence in the region. Ask for detailed information about the organization, including name, address, telephone number, licensing information, and percentage of your donation that will go to the charity. A $10 donation can be made to the Red Cross by texting "HARVEY" to 90999.

The person claims to be with a charity that is raising money to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey. And while there's a tremendous need for supplies and money in the impacted area, several evacuees have found refuge in the Highland Lakes. As the BBB points out, unless an organization already has staff in an area, it can be hard to bring in rescue workers quickly to offer assistance. "They might have been taken off of another website". Search online using services like www.ChecktheCharity.com or the BBB Wise Giving Alliance at www.give.org.

But like others, Busroe knows they'll likely have to provide food and shelter assistance well after the flood waters have receded. You can find links to charity websites at Charity Navigator so you can research what they plan to do with the donations they receive. Some groups will say that 100 percent of donations will assist disaster relief, but that's unlikely. It's up to each of us to make sure our donations are used wisely. He also warned that crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe may have good intentions, but if you can't confirm that the money donated will go where you want it to, you should look at other options. Watch out for charities that use sympathetic-sounding names or names similar to well-known legitimate charities.

Be cautious of material donations such as food or clothing. Naturally, many are compelled to help those in need. If you can't give now or feel overwhelmed by the amount of charity campaigns seeking donations, check back in a few weeks for a recovery effort to support. 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.



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