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Ways to avoid getting scammed when helping victims of Harvey

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Harvey’s devastation has generated tremendous support from all across the country with many places asking for donations.

But how can you be sure your money is going to the right place?

The American Red Cross says while there’s been a huge outpouring of much needed support, it’s also important to donate wisely.

The Houston Convention Center where Wisconsin Red Cross workers are stationed was expecting 5,000 flood victims but nearly double that showed up with just shy of 9,000 being counted.

“The hurricane has not hit yet because it is still raining so much, so at this point we have sent 55 people down to Texas including all of our response vehicles,” says Barbara Behling with the American Red Cross. “So Wisconsin is helping, we are going to be getting more people out the door today, tomorrow, probably for the next 4-6 months we will be sending people to help.”

Red Cross staff say they’ve seen an outpouring of support and for those wanting to help, one of the best options at this point is to make financial donations through legitimate charitable organizations.

Things to look out for right now is any high pressure sales who try and contact you to give money either through email or through social media or through the telephone. That money may end up where it’s going, but a large percentage will be taken by the telemarketer,” says Jim Temmer with the Better Business Bureau.

Another option is to donate blood.

“Take an hour and donate a pint of blood. That will be very useful not only for the hospitals here but as we send blood to Texas as well, because the blood drives there have been postponed,
 says Behling.

However you decide to help, experts suggest doing your research on who and how to give to make sure it gets to those who need it the most.

“You never know when something tragic can happen and it has now happened to Houston,” says Behling.

For a list of organizations like the Red Cross that you can donate to, please click here.

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