The rain from Tropical Storm Harvey hasn’t even stopped falling yet, but we’re already getting word of a scam targeting victims of the storm.
Scam alert: Stop sharing this Harvey storm post
KENS-TV in San Antonio reports that people should stop sharing a post on social media that reads, “The National Guard is being deployed to our Texas area. If you find yourself in a state of emergency. Call 1-800-527-3907. Please copy, paste or share!!!!!!!!!”
The number mentioned in the post, which has since gone viral, connects those in need of emergency assistance to an insurance group — not the National Guard.
— KENS 5 (@KENS5) August 28, 2017
Houston police reminded residents in a tweet to call 911 for life-threatening emergencies and use 311 or the non-emergency number 713-884-3131 when appropriate.
Please use 911 for life-threatening emergencies, and 311 or the HPD non-emergency number 713-884-3131 as appropriate. pic.twitter.com/lN4yThX1fH
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) August 27, 2017
FEMA: Watch out for post-disaster scams!
Unfortunately, we can only expect to hear about more scams in the days, weeks and months following the storm. Here are a few reminders from FEMA:
- Do not offer personal financial information over the phone
- Know who you are dealing with
- Never be shy about asking for identification
- Government workers will never ask for a fee or payment
People nationwide may also receive disaster aid solicitations by phone, email, letter or even face-to-face. To avoid being ripped off, avoid newly formed groups. Donate to established charities instead!
You can research your favorite charities and learn how much of your donation will go to the intended purpose (compared to how much will go to overhead) at Give.org, CharityWatch.org and CharityNavigator.org.