Beware of Hurricane Harvey relief scams, BBB warns - KCTV5

Beware of Hurricane Harvey relief scams, BBB warns

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Jennifer Bryant looks over the debris from her family business destroyed by Hurricane Harvey Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Katy, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) Jennifer Bryant looks over the debris from her family business destroyed by Hurricane Harvey Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Katy, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A lot of us want to help the people in Houston, and that’s great news for scammers who view fundraisers as a terrific opportunity to steal your money.

The scams have already started. There are so many fundraisers that it’s easy for a scammer to jump in line and join the cash grab.

"At any point money starts changing hands, we are going to see scams pop up," said Aaron Reese with the Kansas City Better Business Bureau.

Scams have already been reported in Florida, and Reese expects it’s just a matter of time before he gets reports too.

"They are going to attack so many people at once you can’t possibly catch all of this. They love that chaos, and they will dive right into it," Reese said.

In the mix of legitimate fundraisers, thieves lurk. They’ll use social media and crowdfunding sites. Some might hold a sign and beg on the streets.

But nothing beats a good old fashioned phone call, because, in those moments, they can grab your money and other personal identification. And they can sound so real.

"You want to check them out first. There are so many small changes that a scammer can make to a name of a charity," Reese said.

Reese says people have reported they thought they donated to the American Cancer Society, but it was to the Cancer Society of America. It is a subtle difference in language, but who knows where the money went. Thieves hope you aren’t paying attention.

So how can you make sure your money is helping people?

Donate to large trusted organizations. You can also turn to websites like these:

They can help you verify if a charity is real or not.

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