By Captain Scott Henriod WPCSO

Hurricane Harvey devastated Huston Texas and other cities along the Gulf Coast. I’m sure each of you have seen at least one news broadcast which shows the devastation that has occurred in that area. Our hearts and compassion have gone out to those that have lost so much.

With that in mind many people have been reaching out to the victims of this horrendous storm and have provided charitable contributions. Those contributions are greatly appreciated, but unfortunate there are those that prey upon this type of situation. Fake charitable web sites have been popping up which try and scam you into believing your donation will go to help those flood victims. So here are a few things you need to be aware of before making a contribution.

The Washington POST reported that there are bogus GoFUNDMe pages that have sprung up. The person will actually use the name of a real flood victim, but have the money donated going to them instead of the victim. Second, there are lookalike or sounds like relief agencies. Such as “Red Cross Agency” instead of “American Red Cross”. Third, desperate phone calls. The caller will claim they are stranded in Huston and need money to help them get out of the area. They might even claim that they are related to you. Fourth, scammer will send out an email with a link to donate. The link will have you donate to them instead of the organization you believe you are donating to. Always type in the URL or internet address for the charity you wish to donate to. And last but not least be aware of the old door to door scam. Someone showing up on your door step to collect money for a donation should always be checked out.

As they say always error on the side of caution. Make sure when you donate to a charity that the money is going to the right organization. Double check before you write the check. Any suspected scams can be reported to the Sheriff’s Office or you can contact the Texas Better Business Bureau at (1-800)-621-0508 or at their email at consumeremergency@nag.texas.gov

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