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Beware Charity Scams After Harvey

Posted by Ed McClees | Aug 31, 2017

As Houstonians and people throughout Southeast Texas deal with the aftermath of hurricane Harvey, many people from across the region and nation want to donate to the relief effort to help those devastated by this horrific storm. Unfortunately, there are repugnant thieves who will use fake charities to solicit money via fund raisers and online donations to line their pockets with money intended to assist victims.

It is important to ensure that the charity receiving your money is legitimate.  The Federal Trade Commission cautions people to avoid any charity or fundraiser that:

  • Refuses to provide detailed information about its identity, mission, costs, and how the donation will be used.
  • Won't provide proof that a contribution is tax deductible.
  • Uses a name that closely resembles that of a better-known, reputable organization.
  • Thanks you for a pledge you don't remember making.
  • Uses high-pressure tactics like trying to get you to donate immediately, without giving you time to think about it and do your research.
  • Asks for donations in cash or asks you to wire money.
  • Offers to send a courier or overnight delivery service to collect the donation immediately.
  • Guarantees sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution. By law, you never have to give a donation to be eligible to win a sweepstakes.

 You can confirm whether the charity is trustworthy by contacting the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.

About the Author

Ed McClees

Ed is a criminal trial lawyer who is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  He is a former Harris County District Attorney where he served as chief of the Organized Crime Section, prosecuting cases involving complex organized criminal activities, including Fr...

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