“Within hours of Harvey hitting, scams started to appear,” said Dennis Horton of the Rockford area Better Business Bureau.
During national disasters such as Tropical Storm Harvey, people often reach out to help. But, scammers come out of the woodwork too and they could take advantage. “They don’t care about the situations that people find themselves in disastrous situations like this,” Horton added.
Horton says for those who want to donate money, it’s best to avoid calls, texts, pop ups, or emails from fake organizations that strongly push you to donate. “If you are talking to someone on the phone who is being very aggressive about getting you to donate because of the urgency, of the need, yes it’s urgent but the urgency will be there tomorrow as well,” he said.
There are several safe places where people can donate right here in the stateline, including Heartland Community Church. The church is partnering with ‘World Vision,’ a religious and humanitarian aid organization. They’re not only raising money, but also supplies like soap, toothbrushes, shampoo and other personal care items.
“We’ll be moving those to Chicago to team ‘World Vision’ and they will be distributing from their warehouse in Chicago down to those who are on the ground right now in south Texas,” said Heartland Lead Pastor Josh Peigh
The Red Cross also has volunteers on the ground. Due to the sheer number of victims, they say the best way to make an impact is to donate money. “People really don’t have the space or the need for certain goods that are being sent,” said Northwest Illinois Red Cross Executive Director Lisa LaSala.
“Sending donations of clothing at this time would probably be more detrimental and not very beneficial until those asks are being made,” Horton added.
To check what charities and organizations are safe to donate to visit http://www.give.org/. To donate to the Red Cross visit https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey. To donate to ‘World Vision’, visit https://donate.worldvision.org/ways-to-give/disaster-relief/disaster-relief-in-the-usa-1.