It’s heartbreaking to see people lose their lives, homes, and businesses to the ongoing flooding in Texas. But it’s despicable when scammers exploit such tragedies to appeal to your sense of generosity.
— This article by Colleen Tressler is a post on the Federal Trade Commission blog.
If you’re looking for a way to give, 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 the money as promised.
Consider these tips when asked to give:
- Donate to charities you know and trust with a proven track record with dealing with disasters.
- Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events.Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
- Designate the disaster so you can ensure your funds are going to disaster relief, rather than a general fund.
- Never click on links or open attachments in e-mails unless you know who sent it. You could unknowingly install malware on your computer.
- Don’t assume that charity messages posted on social media are legitimate. Research the organization yourself.
- When texting to donate, confirm the number with the source 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.
Some Organizations to Consider
The New York Times published this list of national and local (to Houston) charities, and also urged caution when picking a charity to give to:
AmeriCares (an international charity based in Stamford) carries medicine and supplies to survivors.
Catholic Charities provides food, clothing, shelter and support services to those from all religious backgrounds.
AABB, which coordinates a task force to manage blood collection efforts during disasters, put out a call on Sunday for blood donations in the aftermath of Harvey. Most in demand: those with type O-positive blood.
Those interested in donating blood may contact these organizations:
The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund of Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, which is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
Carter BloodCare covers hospitals in north, central and east Texas. To donate, call 877-571-1000 or text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999.
The Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio is asking for diapers and wipes, which can be mailed to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, TX 78238.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends checking with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster for a list of trusted disaster-relief organizations in Texas.
— Helping Out After Hurricane Harvey: Where, What & How To Donate (Forbes, Aug. 28)
— People are urging donations for Harvey relief efforts — just not to the Red Cross (Washington Post, Aug. 28)
— Here’s How You Can Help the Victims of Hurricane Harvey (CNN, Aug. 28)
— People Making Donations to Hurricane Harvey Relief Should Vet Charity (Denver Post, Aug. 28)