It’s painful to see people lose their lives, homes, and livelihoods to the tragic flooding in Texas. But it’s contemptible when scammers exploit such tragedies to appeal to your sense of compassion, according to a release from the Federal Trade Commission.
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 your money as you intended.
Consider these tips from the FTC when asked to give:
- Donate to charities you know and trust with a proven track record in dealing with disasters.
- Be especially alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current disasters, such as Hurricane Harvey. Verify authenticity with the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
- Name the disaster when donating so you can ensure your funds are going to disaster relief, rather than a general purpose fund.
- Never click on links or open attachments in emails unless you are certain of the source. You could unknowingly install malware on your computer.
- Don’t assume that donation appeals posted on social media are legitimate. Research the organization yourself.
- When texting to donate, confirm the number with the charity 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 and recover from a severe weather event, visit Dealing with Weather Emergencies.