How to help Hurricane Harvey victims: Dos and don'ts

You've seen the Hurricane Harvey devastation, and if you're like me, you want to help.

You'll likely be approached by phone or through social media from people who want you to give them money.

They'll tell you they are raising funds for victims, but you could also be a victim, since these disasters bring out the worst of the worst people trying to scam you.

Type in "Hurricane Harvey" on the Gofundme site and you'll get nearly 3,000 hits.

Most crowd-funding sites don't check posts for authenticity, and it's the same with Facebook and Twitter.

You'll find plenty of fundraising opportunities from relatives of the victims.

But unless you know them, or someone you know does, your money could be wasted.

How to protect yourself:

  • Don't click on links or attachments unless you are sure where they came from. They could put malware on your phone or computer.
  • Do stick with known charities that deal with disaster relief. If questionable, see if their website clearly describes what the charity can do immediately.
  • Don't wire money. Instead, try donating through a credit card. If you do find out it's not reputable, you may be able to get the money back.
  • Do check out any charity through sites like GuideStar, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch and Give.org.

It's a wonderful thing that you want to help. Just don't be the next victim.

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