Be wary of aid scams, official says

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman are warning Coloradans to be careful when giving to charities claiming to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Such natural disasters often bring out people attempting to benefit from them, and reports of Hurricane Harvey scams are already being reported nationwide.

That’s why Williams and Coffman are warning people to do a little research before donating money.

“It is important for Coloradans to research the charities they support and trust that their donations are being used prudently,” Williams said.

“Coloradans are extremely generous, and I know many people, myself included, are watching the tragedy unfold in Texas and are looking for ways to help,” Coffman added. “It is important to take a few quick steps to ensure that these needed donations are really going to victims or organizations providing victim and community support.” 

To help Coloradans know what groups are reputable, the two officials point to a website their offices have created with the Colorado Nonprofit Association called CheckTheCharity.com.

Williams identified a few that have already been established that are designed to directly help in the aid and rescue of Texans and Louisianans impacted by the storm, which has dumped up to 50 inches of rain in some spots.

They include one created by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. It can be accessed through the Greater Houston Community Foundation, which can be found at ghcf.org.

Williams also suggested that donors give to charities that have a physical address inside the state of Texas.

Coffman’s office also points to another useful website, charitynavigator.org, which includes specific Texas charities dealing with hurricane relief efforts, such as the Houston Food Bank.

In Colorado, Williams said most charities that solicit contributions are registered with his office. Those filings include detailed information about an organization’s leadership, mission, financial efficiency and commercial fundraisers.

Oftentimes, paid solicitors are used by established charities, but not all of the money donated goes to that charity. Annual reports on charities operating in Colorado can be found on Williams’ website at sos.state.co.us.

Williams and Coffman also ask Coloradans to report suspected scams to their offices.


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