Better Business Bureau helps people donate to the right Harvey relief charities, avoid scammers


LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – In the aftermath of Harvey, many people are in need of assistance and donations.

While many want to do the right thing, it’s important to be smart about who you give to.

“Sometimes you’re doing what feels good, but you have to ask yourself–where is that money going to go,” says Sharane Gotte, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana.

While the impulse may be to give quick, it’s important to ask yourself several important questions before donating.

“How are they going to donate the money, who’s going to take care of that money, is it going to a bank, are they going to establish an organization, is it already established,” added Gotte.

The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance helps to make sure relief organizations meet the standards for charity accountability.

Their reports are available to the public so that people can have peace of mind before they give.

“My 10 dollars, or 20 dollars, is important to me and I think it’s going to be important to someone else, so you don’t want it to go to administration or you don’t want someone buying a pink Cadillac with it,” says Gotte.

Donating on the internet comes with more risks, especially when it comes to personal information.

“Don’t give any credit cards, or personal information, over Facebook sites,” says Gotte.

You can tell if the site is secure simply by looking at the first few letters of the website link.

“If it’s secure, it’ll say ‘https’ for secure–if it has no ‘s’ then it’s not secure,” added Gotte.

The Wise Giving Alliance rates organizations based on 20 standards of charity accountability. You can verify the trustworthiness of soliciting relief organizations by visiting, which allows you to access the reports.

The following is a list of BBB Accredited Charities:

  1. American Red Cross
  2. AmeriCares
  3. Direct Relief
  4. GlobalGiving Foundation
  5. Houston Food Bank
  6. Houston Humane Society
  7. Human Society of the United States
  8. Operation USA
  9. Salvation Army
  10. Save the Children
  11. United Way of Greater Houston

Consumers can report suspected scams to BBB Scam Tracker at or call the Texas Attorney General’s hotline at 1-800-621-0508

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