Don't get hooked: Hurricane relief

The Arkansas BBB offers advise to help keep you from falling for hurricane relief scams.  


While Better Business Bureau chapters in Texas and soon Florida are warning consumers about repair and rebuilding scams, the Arkansas BBB has some advice for Natural State residents.

Arkansans have big hearts and many want to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey and those who will be impacted by Hurricane Irma.

The Arkansas Better Business Bureau wants to help make sure you don't get hooked by an unworthy cause.

Type in the words "Houston" or "flooding victim" on sites like Go Fund Me and there is no shortage of sad stories of people in need of help.

But how do you know which ones are legit?

Janet Robb with the Arkansas Better Business Bureau says it's not easy.

"You the veteran,” says Robb. “These people were displaced. Maybe it is not really a veteran. You don't really know where your money is going. Plus...since you don't know where your money is going...if you're providing a credit card...over the don't know what they're going to do with that credit card number either."

The BBB advises that before you give to relief efforts in Houston or soon Florida...verify the trustworthiness of the soliciting group. The website can help.

If a group is collecting on behalf of a verified organization, avoid the middleman and give directly to the actual organization.

See if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the area affected.

And don't rush to donate.

"A lot of these organizations...they need our funds today,” says Robb. “But they will also need them tomorrow. So don't get rushed into a sense of urgency. Take time to check out the organization. Do a little bit of research. Do some homework. So that you can be assured that your dollars are going to where they can do the most help."

The Better Business Bureau also has a list of 20 accredited charities on its web site that are assisting with hurricane relief efforts.

You can find that list by visiting And clicking on "Wise giving Wednesday."

Air date: September 6th, 2017

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