Security/Emergency Information

Hurricane Harvey Relief Funds

Posted on August 28, 2017

Note: There are fraudsters who are known to take advantage of the tendency to generously respond to disasters.The FBI’s New York Field Office reminds the public to apply a critical eye before giving contributions to anyone soliciting donations on behalf of Harvey victims. In the past, tragedies and natural disasters have inspired individuals with criminal intent to solicit contribution while falsely representing a charitable organization or good cause.

Therefore, before making a donation of any kind, the public should adhere to certain guidelines, including the following:

  • Donate to charities you know and trust.
  • Designate the disaster to ensure your funds go toward disaster relief.
  • Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited e-mail.
  • Don’t assume that charity messages posted on social media are legitimate. Research the organization.
  • Verify the legitimacy of any e-mail solicitation by contacting the organization directly through a trusted contact number.
  • Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.
  • Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by credit card or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals.
  • Legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations via money transfer services. Most legitimate charity websites end in .org rather than .com.
  • Make contributions directly, rather than relying on others to make a contribution on your behalf.

“As we continue to keep those affected by Hurricane Harvey in our thoughts, we must also remember how tragedies like this often serve as a breeding ground for those who want to take advantage of people’s generosity. It’s heartwarming to see the outpouring of support from people across the country who are eager to donate to the relief cause, but we urge everyone to be smart and exercise their due diligence in researching the organizations they intend to donate to. As always, it’s essential that every penny donated goes into the pockets of those who are most in need,” said Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr.

See Potential  Hurricane Harvey Phishing Scams published by DHS’ Com.

The following organizations in our network are responding to Hurricane Harvey (this is a partial list which will be updated as we receive more information):

As Hurricane Harvey continues to batter Texas (see the JTA article and here) , the Jewish Federations of North America (UJA-Federation is a member)  opened an emergency relief fund to support communities and individuals in Houston, San Antonio, Galveston, Corpus Christi and other areas that have been hammered by Hurricane Harvey.  With record breaking volumes of rain having fallen through the weekend and expected to continue through tomorrow, extensive damage is continuing to mount.

Lee Wunsch, CEO of the Houston Federation, reports that the amount of rain and resulting flooding has surpassed that of the massive storm two years ago.  Bayous and tributaries are flooding beyond their banks and roads are impassable.  People whose homes are flooding are being advised to go up to their roofs so they can be evacuated; emergency workers were evacuating stranded residents through the night.

We know that several Jewish communal institutions that flooded two years ago have flooded again, but communities in the affected areas won’t be able to start assessing the scope of damage to institutions and members of their communities until the rain stops and roads become passable.

Note: There are fraudsters who are known to take advantage of the tendency to generously respond to disasters. See Potential  Hurricane Harvey Phishing Scams published by DHS’ Com.  The following organizations in our network are responding to Hurricane Harvey (this is a partial list which will be updated as we receive more information):

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