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Wise giving in the wake of Hurricane Harvey

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It’s heartbreaking to see people lose their lives, homes, and businesses to the ongoing flooding in Texas. But it’s despicable when scammers exploit such tragedies to appeal to your sense of generosity.

If you’re looking for a way to give, the FTC urges you to be cautious of potential charity scams. Do some research to ensure that your donation will go to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.

Consider these tips when asked to give:

  • Donate to charities you know and trust with a proven track record with dealing with disasters.
  • Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events. Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
  • Designate the disaster so you can ensure your funds are going to disaster relief, rather than a general fund.
  • Never click on links or open attachments in e-mails unless you know who sent it. You could unknowingly install malware on your computer.
  • Don’t assume that charity messages posted on social media are legitimate. Research the organization yourself.
  • When texting to donate, confirm the number with the source before you donate. The charge will show up on your mobile phone bill, but donations are not immediate.
  • Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting the National Association of State Charity Officials. If they should be registered, but they're not, consider donating through another charity.

To learn more, go to Charity Scams. For tips to help you prepare for, deal with, and recover from a severe weather event, visit Dealing with Weather Emergencies.

Tagged with: charity, disaster, scam, weather
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Money & Credit


Thank you for the warning I am sure the thieves will soon if not already come out of the woodwork .THANKS AGAIN

Again and again, over and over, the American Red Cross IS on media platforms everywhere using and abusing disasters as means to carry on the Greatest
Charity Scam in American History. Do Not Respond.
The American Red Cross is near-entirely a PR operations institution!!!

What's wrong with the red cross. I donated to them and have seen where they have helped 100s thousands???

I was told that way too much money goes to exorbitant salaries and administrative costs and very little where it is needed.

It's probably an impersonation of them. Note the IS at the end of the name.

The actual red cross does do good things. Just be careful where you donate to.

oh wait, there is no IS at the end. it's the actual word is. My bad haha.

I will not give any money based on unsolicited calls to me. I do not really know who they are and events such as this bring out the scammers in force. The only way I know of to stay safe is not to give based on these types of calls. Sad but this is the world we live in today.

Minnesota has the Charity Review Council that has established standards that must be met.

Just a reminder

Ask how much of your donation dollars go to the victims needs. How much goes to staff salaries?

Walmart in Blaine, Mn. is matching donations given by customers. I donated $2 and they matched equals $4. Does that all go to the Houstan people?

great info

You can also view the charity's Form 990 on GuideStar. If the nonprofit's management expenses approximately equal the nonprofit's cash donations, then this is a cautionary flag. If the nonprofit's amounts paid to beneficiaries far exceeds the nonprofit's non-cash donations, then this is a good flag.

To check on charities online, Charity is a very good site.

Beware of the listed places said to provide information other than Charity The other sites tease you to sign up, then IF you want the info they say they provide, you must pay for it. A scam about scams.

Too sad that people use tradegy to extort money from people. There will always be this type of people which makes it hard to tell which ones are great and to donate too.

In decades past, phone solicitation was a most efficient way for charities to solicit money, especially for disasters.

In the last decade or so, scammers have totally ruined phone solicitation as a secure way of asking for money, so it surprises me that any charities even attempt this tactic anymore.

I reached the point over 15 years ago of not trusting any unknown called ID, no matter how familiar sounding the name.

I know GoFundMe type sites have also become popular, but they are too hard to validate if you are outside the area of the requesting person/company.

Excellent Information Thanks

Sorry to say after being hacked and spied on for 2 years and very important emails stolen and could have helped us not loose our home I really don't even trust what I'm reading right now !! Thanks you no who!

I was told way too much money goes to exorbitant salaries and administration and very little to actual needy people at Red Cross.

great blog and thanks for

got an email today supposedly from Walmart thanking me for the donation to hurricane victims in south Carolina.I never sent a donation.I called my bank said had no transactions like that.

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