Don't Be a Victim: Charity Scams - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Don't Be a Victim: Charity Scams

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

The devastation from Hurricane Harvey is staggering. A lot of help is desperately needed for the thousands of storm victims. 

Here's a warning you should be made aware of. Don't be a victim when it comes to disaster relief charities. Criminals are always looking for ways to get their hands on your hard earned money - even taking advantage of the dire situation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Before you open your wallet - there are some things you need to consider so that you don't end up becoming a victim yourself. 

When you see devastating images, it pulls at your heartstrings. You want to help. However, while disasters like Harvey bring out the best in most of us, it also brings out the worst in some. 

"I would encourage people to do their research and use charities that are well known in the community, and that they have given contributions to in the past," said Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp. 

Here are some steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of a charity scam:

  • Ask for proof of the solicitor's connection to the charity
  • Call the charity. Ask if it authorizes to use its name to seek donations
  • Research the charity online. You can also contact your local Better Business Bureau
  • Make monetary donations by check 
  • Use caution when making donations with a credit card
  • If you believe you have given a scammer contact information, contact your bank or credit card company immediately

"You just don't want to give your credit card out to somebody that is calling you. You know, if you are reaching out and contacting that organization that is on the ground in your local community, I think you are safe for the most part doing that. I would also just remind people not to get taken advantage of by a telephone scam," said Secretary Kemp. 

You should also remember that not all organizations with charitable sounding names are actually charities. Sites like Charity Navigator can provide a list of charities that have a history of working on massive disasters. 

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