Coming to the aid of disaster victims is an American tradition. We reach deep into our pockets to help our fellow citizens in their time of need. But how do you know which charity to choose to make your donation count?
Here is some helpful advice to help keep you make the right choices:
• Be cautious when handling any e-mail with a subject line, attachments, or hyperlinks related to Hurricane Harvey, or any other current disaster, even if it appears to originate from a trusted source. Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages.
• Fraudulent emails will often contain links or attachments that direct users to phishing or malware-infected websites. Use caution when opening email attachments. Refer to the tipsheet from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Using Caution with Email Attachments for more information on safely handling email attachments.
• Emails requesting donations from duplicitous charitable organizations commonly appear after major natural disasters. Keep antivirus and other computer software up-to-date.
• To protect from phishing scams and malware campaigns. Refer to the tipsheet from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information on social engineering attacks.
• Review the Federal Trade Commission information on Charity Scams.
• Verify the legitimacy of any email solicitation by contacting the organization directly through a trusted contact number. You can find trusted contact information for many charities on the BBB National Charity Report Index.
• For more information about specific charities visit Charity Navigator. The website has developed a special page just for charities providing legitimate assistance in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.