Don't fall for Hurricane Harvey charity scams

Posted at 5:58 PM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-29 01:11:18-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Most people who see the flooding and destruction from Hurricane Harvey want to help, while others see an opportunity to rip people off.  The Federal Trade Commission and other consumer groups are warning against scammers who want to exploit the tragedy for their personal gain.

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"Periods of natural disaster really bring out the best in people," said Michael Sedio, of the San Diego Better Business Bureau.  "...but it's a golden opportunity for scammers. People are gonna get in there and they're gonna try and intercept the money that you're intending for a good cause."

The BBB is joining the call for consumers to be vigilant when it comes to sending money for storm relief.

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Sedio said emails soliciting money should be a red flag. He advised consumers who want to make donations go directly to that organization's website rather than clicking any links in an email.  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.

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Your best bet is to stick with a well-known charity like the American Red Cross or Salvation Army.  Sedio said established non-profits also allow you to get a federal tax deduction for your donations, making your money go farther.

Charity Navigator is an online tool that can help you search for reputable organizations that will spend your money to help disaster victims.

For more information about charity scams, click HERE