Hurricane Harvey has been nothing short of devastating.
It’s expected to cost the country $160 million. But nobody needs numbers to measure the cost. Almost every Texan has family somewhere in Houston. The pictures are horrifying enough. If not downright apocalyptic, as this picture of I-10 illustrates.
— Brian Crumpler (@briancrumpler) August 30, 2017
The videos are horrifying. And so are the stories. Not only was there the bizarre case of Best Buy charging people $42 per pack of water bottles, but there have been documented cases involving looting. Tragedies can often bring out the best in people. But to the worst, a disaster can be an opportunity to take advantage of the vulnerable. What should you and others be looking for? If any of this information is new to you, or those close to you actively involved in Houston’s disaster, please share this on social media.
— Fortune (@FortuneMagazine) August 30, 2017
A “phishing” scam is what it sounds like – getting somebody to take the bait. Emails are the most common places for phishing scams. If you find an expected email from an organization or company you’ve never heard of informing you to click their website – DON’T. The easiest way to tell is to hover your mouse over any potential links: if there’s anything funny or you don’t see an “https” in the address, then it’s not worth it.
The Federal Trade Commission has a handy list of what to look out for. If there’s not a number to call, or a staff that can help you answer any questions, then they’re probably not legit. In addition, there are websites, such as Charity Watch, that can validate where you want to send money, and how that money will actively be spent.
Law Enforcement Imposters
ICE issues statement on "disturbing reports" of people impersonating ICE officials in Houston: pic.twitter.com/YdIMphGxgf
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) August 30, 2017
One of the scariest stories involving Hurricane Harvey has been the impersonation of law enforcement. There’s no way to feel comfortable about asking an officer of the law for their badge of ID, but it’s far better to be safe than sorry in such a situation.
Contact Online Fundraisers Directly
Jeremiah Richard, with his family of four, set up a fundraiser on GoFundMe. Unfortunately, several people pretended to be him after he set up his page, leading to other dummy accounts that have been created for fundraising efforts. Be sure to contact these people, or the website’s support page directly to make sure you (or evacuees) are not being taken advantage of.