Mary MuellerSep 2, 2017, 9:35 amSep 2, 2017, 10:44 am

Helping Hurricane Harvey victims: Watch out for scams

Some advice from the Better Business Bureau’s Claire Rosenzweig


Many in the Hudson Valley want to know how they can help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. But during a disaster, you also don't want to fall victim to scams.

The images of destruction caused by Harvey are hard to watch. From the rescues and the damage to the pets, it’s natural to want to help. However, there are many out there looking to take advantage of people. Enter Claire Rosenzweig with the Better Business Bureau.

"A good place to start is with the BBB Alliance giving list," says Rosenzweig.

It's a list of charities the BBB knows has boots on the ground and are reputable. If you want to check out a charity not on the list, you can go to and see if it meets the BBB's standards.

Rosenzweig says, "The ideal is when a charity has a check mark that says it meets standards. They can also look for the accredited charity seal. If a charity hasn't disclosed, it means we have asked them for information to share with the public and for whatever reason, they have said they have chosen not to."

Often scammers try to pull on people's heartstrings by creating phony websites with heartbreaking photos. Following Hurricane Katrina, the FBI found more than 4,600 sites believed to be fraudulent.

“In times like these, they come up with lookalike, sound-alike check charities, they might even have nice looking websites,” says Rosenzweig. Watch out for unsolicited phone calls, emails and texts, she says.

And crowdfunding sites — these are sites like Kickstarter where users campaign for funds. The BBB says you have to be skeptical of these sites.

Rosenzweig says, “There may be people who set up funds and say I will get it to the place where they need it the most. People don't need the middleman here.”

As for local charities, Rosenzweig says just do your homework.

Consumers can report suspected scams to bbb scam tracker ( or the Texas Attorney General’s hotline (800-621-0508 or

The following is a list of BBB accredited charities that are raising funds for Hurricane Harvey relief assistance:

American Red Cross
Church World Service
Direct Relief
GlobalGiving Foundation
Houston Food Bank
Houston Humane Society
Humane Society of the United States
Islamic Relief USA
MAP International
Operation USA
Salvation Army
Save the Children
United Methodist Committee on Relief
United Way of Greater Houston

For more advice and information on the organizations, visit this link -



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