How to donate to Hurricane Harvey victims; how to avoid scams

How to donate to Hurricane Harvey victims how to avoid scams

COLUMBIA, Mo. - If you're hoping to give to relief efforts, do you know where your money is going? 

Experts say it's natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey where generous people can be easily targeted. Experts say donators need to be extra cautious and do research on which charity organizations to donate to so your donations will be able to help the right people. 

"Natural disasters like this are like catnip for scammers," Sean Spence with Better Business Bureau said. 

How to avoid scams

Using resources like charity navigator help provide a free resource about charities along with advice on how to donate, and which groups are best to donate to. 

Spence told ABC 17 News that when you do donate, use a credit card. Using one makes it much easier to get your money back. 

If the organization is a newer organization and doesn't have very much documentation to back up how they spend their donations, Spence said it's a risk the donor has to take. 


Crowdsourcing funds like GoFundMe have become a popular way to donate to an individual cause but there can be some risks. While most of the requests are legitimate appeals for money, Spence said, be advised that with a high amount of requests scammers could be among them.

GoFundMe has set up up an entire Hurricane Harvey section with more than 275 campaigns with more than $1 million raised. 

If you do donate on a crowdsource funding platform like GoFundMe, oftentimes personal donations are not tax deductible, unlike the American Red Cross and Salvation Army. 

Charities/ Organizations

Here are some organizations that you can donate to. 

Red Cross

Salvation Army

Direct Relief

Houston Food Bank

Global Giving Foundation

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