Attorney general offers tips on avoiding Hurricane Harvey donation scams

Flood evacuees
Rescue boats fill a flooded street as flood victims are evacuated as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Colorado Attorney General’s Office is urging residents to do their homework before donating money to victims of Hurricane Harvey. The office offered the following tips on avoiding fake charities and other donation-related scams.

  • Research the charity before you donate. Ask for detailed information about the organization, including name, address, telephone number, licensing information, and percentage of your donation that will go to the charity. Search online using services like www.ChecktheCharity.com or the BBB Wise Giving Alliance at www.give.org.
  • Be especially wary of brand-new charities and crowdfunding sites that have popped up as a result of this tragic event. Even if they are well-intentioned, they may not have the necessary infrastructure to provide relief or services to the victims.
  • Do not respond to unsolicited solicitations that arrive by phone, email, pop-up messages, or even door-to-door.
  • Avoid charities or fundraisers that refuse to provide detailed information about their identity, mission, costs, or how your donation will be used.
  • Know that not all donations are tax-deductible. Donations to specific individuals or families, for example, are not. If someone raising money on behalf of a particular victim or family says your donation is tax-deductible, chances are it’s a scam.
  • Charity Navigator is useful for gathering information about existing charities and has a Hurricane Harvey-specific section.

For more information about charity fraud, visit the attorney general’s Charity Fraud Center. If you believe you have been a victim of charity fraud, you can file a report here or call 1-800-222-4444.

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