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Scammers trying to take advantage of your generosity to Hurricane Harvey victims

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Don’t get taken by online or phone solictations

While Hurricane Harvey continues to wreak havoc on parts of southeast Texas, displacing thousands with unprecedented rain and flooding, Coloradans may be wondering what they can do to help with relief efforts.

Claire Rosenzweig is the head of the Metropolitan Chapter of the Better Business Bureau.

When a disaster such as Hurricane Harvey hits, people want to help the victims by the giving their time or by offering a monetary donation. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, e-mail or in-person solicitations. This free booklet describes the tax rules that apply to making legitimate tax-deductible donations. Don't let yourself be pressured into giving, and don't feel you have to contribute on the spot. Those wanting to give will need to protect their personal information.

Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. If you notice something suspicious, immediately report it to site administrators. The money you donate should go to the victims of this natural disaster, not the crooks who are seek to exploit them. A lot of that money coming from a newly launched text campaign. Plus, it's easy to just type in the name of a charity to see if they are legitimate. Charities that do not have staff in affected areas may have difficulty bringing in aid workers.

Donors can also go to the IRS website to see if a charity is registered.

Avoid middlemen. Some charities raise money to forward to other groups that may be helping. However, if a fundraiser is calling on behalf of a charity, you may ask not to get any more calls from, or on behalf of, that specific charity. "Now we want to give everyone another way to make a difference".

Amazon and Whole Foods are matching up to US$1mil (RM4.27mil) in donations made through the e-commerce site to the American Red Cross.

Ask the charity for details on what it's doing to help in this particular crisis, Weiner says. Some groups will say that 100 percent of donations will assist disaster relief, but that's unlikely. It is hard to verify the trustworthiness of crowdfunding requests for support. Hackers have been spamming email inboxes with phishing attacks that claim to let you help victims, but actually steal logins, passwords, and in some cases, credit card information.

Phases of disaster relief.

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