There’s a lot of sick and disturbed people in the world that come from all walks of life and commit all manner of evil, but one of the worst has to be those who take advantage of tragedy for their own personal gain.
Hurricane Harvey has been pummeling the United States, especially in areas like Texas and Louisiana among others, causing all sorts of damage and flooding, even costing lives too.
As this natural disaster has continued to unfold, people are losing their homes, jobs, possessions, and going without necessities like food, water, and medicine. Folks are desperate for help, not to just to get through a rough time, but for their very survival.
And this dire need has been like blood in the water, attracting every low-life shark around for an easy kill.
There is apparently some sort of online scam being perpetrated by a despicable group of human beings who are leverage social media to pretend to be the National Guard looking to help and rescue survivors.
This is absolutely morally repugnant.
From Ken 5:
A scam targeting victims of Tropical Storm Harvey posted on various social media sites has gone viral.
The post 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!!!!!!!!!”
If you see this do not share. The number belongs to an insurance group and not the National Guard. If you are in danger and call this number you will not be rescued.
The other numbers posted like the Houston Police Department, FEMA, Office of Emergency, Houston Coast Guard, and Red Cross are correct numbers. However, officials do not want you calling them if you’re in a life-threatening situation.
If you or someone you know is in need of help, emergency officials said to call 911 and if they do not answer immediately, it is important to stay on the line.
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
How horrifying is it that a group of people selling insurance would stoop so low as to actually put people’s lives in danger?
That’s truly disgusting in just about every way imaginable. It really takes someone with no concern for right and wrong, with no empathy for the suffering of others to perpetrate such a scam.
When disasters like this strike, it gives us an opportunity to do one of two things: To set aside our petty differences and work together, united, for the sake of people who are in desperate need of help, or to showcase the worst humanity has to offer and take advantage of the situation so we can get something out of other people’s misery.
Mostly, we’ve seen a lot of the former instead of the latter, with plenty of photos and videos bombarding the Internet of nameless heroes rescuing people while others across the country donate money and supplies.
That is the kind of people we should strive to be, especially Christians who have a golden opportunity here to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to show the love of God in a very real, tangible, life changing way.
It’s important to make sure that if you’re donating money to Harvey relief funds that the places you’re sending your cash to are legit charities that are giving all of the proceeds that come in to those who need it.
Here are some tips on avoiding scams from CNN:
Are you considering a donation to a Harvey relief fund? Experts have some advice.
Steer clear of suspicious websites. Beware of unsolicited emails and phone calls. Never open emails purporting to show photos of disaster areas because they may be viruses hackers can use to steal your information.
And start by doing your homework on the organization.
“Be wary of charities that spring up too suddenly in response to current events and natural disasters,” the Federal Trade Commission website warns. The FTC also urges close vetting of solicitations posted on places like Facebook and Twitter.
Donate to national groups with a solid track record or familiar local organizations, advises Doug White, director of the Fundraising Management Graduate Program at Columbia University.
If you’re unsure about a charity’s history, the FTC has a handy list of sites to consult. Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch and GuideStar are among the leading charity watchdogs in the country.
The State Department suggests that anyone looking to donate avoid giving cash donations and instead use a debit card or credit card. Avoid writing checks to an individual, always make it out to the charity in order to prevent fraud.
If you want to go the crowdfunding route, most sites like GoFundMe have an official page already set up that you can donate to in order to avoid scammers.
Please consider helping the fine people of our nation who have been negatively impacted by Hurricane Harvey. This is the perfect opportunity to show how a divided nation can come together when it’s necessary.