Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple is warning the public about scams designed to take advantage of people trying to help out the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Of the scams that are out there, he said, fake Facebook pages and fraudulent charity websites have been set up asking for donations to help the people of Texas devastated by flooding.
“These cyber criminals are exploiting this disaster by using fake social media accounts and websites.,” Apple said in a statement. “Whenever a natural disaster strikes, many of us ask, how can we help? Giving to help those impacted is good, but it’s important to donate to a legitimate charity that has experience getting help to those affected quickly.”
He recommends following these tips:
-If you would like to make a donation, go to the website of the charity of your choice and make a donation. Do not click on any links in emails or texts that you might receive.
-Donate to charities you know and trust. Beware of charities that seem to have appeared overnight in connection with current events.
-If you receive a telephone call asking for a donation, inquire if the caller is a paid fundraiser, who they work for, and what percentage of your donation goes to the charity and to the fundraiser. If you do not get a clear answer – or if you do not like the answer you get – consider donating to a different organization.
-Do not give out personal or financial information – including your credit card or bank account number – unless you know, the charity is reputable, and never give that information over the phone.
-Never send cash: you cannot be sure the organization will receive your donation, and you will not have a record for tax purposes.
-Research charities through the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance website.
-To report suspected charity fraud in Albany County, contact the Albany County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Unit at (518) 765-2351.