Want to help hurricane victims? Beware of scammers

Beware of the scammers when helping hurricane victims

As heartbreaking images of hurricane survivors are shown on television and on the Internet following the recent major storms, people naturally want to help.

But also watching all of the devastation are thieves, waiting for the opportunity to cash in on others’ misery.

"People will go to these sites that aren't a legitimate site," said Brian Branch, a computer technician at The Computer Geeks on Magazine. "Trojan's are sent through fake attachments or emails," said Branch.

He's warning everyone to be wary of viruses, and phishing schemes that will appear online for weeks to come.

"Fake Gofundmes.  You'll even see emails from people claiming they are victims.  Pretty much where it relies on the kindness of people," he said.

"They really don't care,” said Cynthia Albert of the Better Business Bureau. “The more money that they get from you, the better they feel”.

Albert says she has already received a handful of reports related to fake storm charities.

"They could be standing on the corner. They could be standing in front of a grocery store, fax, telephone, really they can get you every which way," said Albert.

That's why she says, first off, hold off on impulse giving, without fact-checking.

"If we could just stay away from the ones that are trying to scam you, then we can help these people out," said Albert.

Albert recommends using Give.org.  It's a Better Business Bureau's website to check how a non-profit spends and uses its money.

"A large part of Texas, a section of Louisiana and Florida, the entire state of Florida has been affected," said Branch.

It's clear to Branch that many people are in need, but he says helping out the old fashion way with a check to a reputable charity may get help to those in need faster.  

© 2017 WWL-TV


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