NPR last month printed an article written by Emily Sullivan. It highlighted many of the legitimate fundraising efforts started in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. But it also highlighted the fact that there are a number of not-so-legitimate efforts. After a national event such as a hurricane or other disaster, the country comes together – as it should – and supports those that have been victimized. It’s important that we do.
It also gives fraudsters a foothold to play on people’s emotions and to raise money that does not actually benefit anyone but the fraudster. After Hurricane Sandy, hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised by scam charities. Below are just a few ways highlighted in the article to protect yourself against falling victim to such a fraud:
- Know where your money is going. Check with the Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator or other service that will give information on fundraising efforts.
- Never give out cash. Using a check or credit card gives a paper trail to the donation. It helps protect you from folks just looking to line their own pockets quickly.
- Understand Crowdfunding. Sites like Go Fund Me do their best to vet out legitimate requests. They have created a post about the efforts they are making to protect the donations to the Harvey Relief Effort. All verified Harvey-related GoFundMe campaigns are listed at an official page on their website.
- Check the Charity’s website. Confirm that they are legitimate. Don’t text donations to organizations that you do not know.
- Be wary of clicking links or attachments. This is always true, but the caution may get lost in the efforts to find ways to help. Fraudsters will play on your emotions and will include malicious links or direct you to bogus or spoofed charity pages.
- Report suspicious organizations. The Better Business Bureau is the place to go if you believe a solicitation you’ve received is fraudulent.
You can read the whole article here: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/31/547307482/dont-fall-victim-to-harvey-flood-scams