When disasters strike, we tend to want to help out. If your neighbor loses their home to a fire/tornado or any other disaster, we would give blankets, towels, clothing, food, water, and any other basic needs.

 

What happens when disasters strike across the Nation? How do we donate and help out then? With Hurricane Harvey, and Irma on the way, people far away from us are needing help and we, as kind and caring citizens, want to donate.

But, when disasters happen across the Nation, can you guess what also happens? Fraud. This is the perfect opportunity for fraudulent people to run their scams and get your money without you even knowing!

Fraud happens more than we think. According to CNN Money, fraud happens every 15 seconds. Which means the number increases in time of need! I have some tips on how to help the Harvey Victims and make sure you stay safe too!

-          Don’t give out any personal information. That means, bank account numbers or social security numbers. Donations do not need that information.

-          Trust the donation companies you already know. For example, Red Cross is a well-known one.

-          If you suspect something, you are probably right!

-          Stick with organizations that are in the area. For example, Texas food banks or United Way.

With that being said, if you would like to donate you can give specifically to the Red Cross by simply texting REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10. The charges will appear on your next phone billing cycle.

Beyond the big name charities, there are a number of smaller organizations in Texas that can use your donation help, including the Houston Food Bank, Food Bank of Corpus Christi, Houston Humane Society, Houston SPCA, or San Antonio Humane Society.

— Anne Pitts is a Kansas State Research and Extension Agent for Harvey County. Family and consumer science is her specialty. The Harvey County Extension Office can be contacted at 284-6930