Avoid getting scammed when helping after Harvey

Friday, 01 Sep, 2017

Meanwhile, Google has set up its own disaster relief page, pledging to match the first $1 million in donations made there to the organization Network For Good, which will send funds along to the American Red Cross for the immediate relief effort.

It's a scam, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Instead of checking on a link in an email you receive, access the website of the charity to which you want to donate.

But unlike public charities that are required to disclose their finances annually with the Internal Revenue Service, someone who runs a crowdfunding campaign isn't required to disclose how they use the raised funds, says Mr. Borochoff. During times of natural disaster, it is very common for scammers to create fake charities to make money from innocent do-gooders.

Alaskans can fall victim to Hurricane Harvey scams even though our state is thousands of miles away from the disaster zone.

Here are some charities you might consider donating to, but keep in mind to always do your own research to make sure the money goes to a good cause. If you decide to contribute via crowdfunding, it is probably best to give to people who you personally know that have posted requests for assistance.

Avoid middlemen. Some charities raise money to forward to other groups that may be helping.

You can read a full list of his tips here.

So where can you safely donate?

"Especially during times of disaster, people see what's happening in Texas and our hearts all go out to them", Elizabeth Penniman, Vice President of Communications for American Red Cross national headquarters, tells PEOPLE.

Check out charities with the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar. There's always the Red Cross (1-800-RED-CROSS), though the organization's reputation was significantly tarnished due to its reported failure to provide relief of any quantifiable sort in Haiti after the devastating quake in 2010-for which it raised a half billion dollars that appeared to just vanish.

Donating physical items like water, clothing and food is not what reputable always charities need.