As we all now know, Hurricane Harvey was a terribly destructive hurricane that first came ashore in Texas and eventually dumped devastating amounts of rain on Houston and much of coastal Texas. It is now a tropical depression sending rain and strong storms across the Southeast. An estimated 30,000-40,000 homes have been destroyed thus far due to flooding just in and around the Houston area. Many people are rallying together to help and people from across the United States are sending supplies, money, and certainly thoughts and prayers to the victims of the storm.
Unfortunately, as there often are during times of need, there are scammers who prey on the victims and see this tragedy as an opportunity. USA Today talked about the scammers are using the internet to con those in need and those trying to help. One way they take advantage of people is by creating websites using the names of the storms and ask people to send money. The donation scams can also come to you through email and unfortunately that money doesn’t make it to the victims.
Walt Green, the former director of the Justice Department’s National Center for Disaster Fraud, says that you should never donate or give money through any link that you receive through email. Even if the email comes from a trusted source, they could have been scammed as well.
You should be wary of organizations that can not give you proof of whether your donations are tax-deductible or not. Do not donate to organizations that pressure you into making donations immediately and rush you. Do not give money to an organization that asks you to send cash or asks you to wire them money.
Our thoughts are with those affected by Hurricane Harvey. If you are wanting to help and donate to the relief efforts, please make sure that you are donating through a trusted and well-known organization, such as the Red Cross.