After a natural disaster such as Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, there can be an increase in charity scams by fraudsters who attempt to capitalize on the public’s concern by setting up bogus charities.

Protect yourself by giving only to charities you know or by researching a charity’s legitimacy by visiting charity evaluation websites such as Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.

Be on the lookout for charities or relief websites that are brand new (such as houstonfloodrelief.net). Sometimes these sites are set up by well-meaning people with the best of intentions, but it’s best not to take a chance.

We recommend giving to the National Credit Union Foundation, which has activated the online disaster relief system CUAid.coop to raise money for credit union people affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 100% of the donations given to CUAid will go towards disaster relief.

Additional Tips:

  • Before donating to a charity via text message, confirm the charity’s phone number to ensure it’s legitimate.

  • Do not follow unsolicited links or download attachments from unknown sources. If an email or website looks suspect (often phony sites and emails have spelling and grammar mistakes, or strange information in the To and From fields) trust your instincts and do not click.

  • Do not assume a charity message posted on social media is legitimate.

For more information on charity scams, visit the Federal Trade Commision's website.