Be careful with hurricane-related giving, DA’s office urges

Texas National Guardsmen rescue a resident by boat during flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston. (U.S. Defense Department)

The Ulster County District Attorney’s Division of Consumer Affairs reminds Internet users who receive appeals to donate money in the aftermath of the flooding in Texas to use caution before responding to those requests. Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for charitable organizations.

Before making a donation of any kind, consumers should:

  • Not respond to any spam e-mail or click on links contained within those messages;
  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as survivors or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites;
  • Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations;
  • Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses;
  • Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf; and
  • Do not give personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions.

Spam e-mail can be forwarded to and then deleted. Consumer Affairs can be reached at (845) 340-3260.