Over the weekend, millions of residents on the Gulf Coast of Texas were affected by Hurricane Harvey. As the news of the aftermath continues to be reported, many people want to help victims of the hurricane.
Unfortunately, scammers are preying on these charitable individuals and it is important to know some of the warning signs so you do not fall victim to possibly dangerous scams.
- Don’t fall for copycats.
Always do your research and check the name of the charity in which you are donating. Scammers may use a name very similar to reputable charities.
- Be wary of emails and social media.
Go straight to the source. Emails asking for donations often are phishing emails from scammers and contain fake links. These links may lead to fake or malicious sites attempting to collect your personal information
- Don’t provide personal information.
It’s normal for a legitimate charity such as the Red Cross to ask for your name and mailing address. Any site that asks for more information than that is likely a scam and attempting identity theft. Never give information such as your social security number or a copy of your driver’s license.
- Do the homework.
Check that the charity you are donating to is reputable. Use a site such as give.org to see if a specific charity is as accountable as they may seem.
- High pressure.
If a charity is insisting on immediate relief help be careful. Legitimate charities will be glad to accept donations, even if they come later.
Go with What You Know
Despite all the new ways to donate, thanks to technology, your best bet is to donate the old fashion way. Stick with reputable organizations that have been around for years and are known to provide help during similar disasters. You’re less likely fall victim to a scam or phishing attack by doing so.