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Before you donate, beware hurricane scams

Scammers are trying to take advantage of people's good intentions in bad situations.

WASHINGTON — With overwhelming images pouring in from Hurricane Ian the desire to help often means donating, said Kevin Scally with the non-profit watchdog Charity Navigator.

"I think that's the silver lining is that crises can often bring out the best in people," Scally said. He continued by saying that it can also bring out bad actors such as scammers trying to take advantage of people's good will in bad situations.

"You're seeing an uptick...in email fraud and in text message fraud," Scally said. 

Scally says look out for unsolicited messages made to look like they're from a reputable organization.  

Instead, go directly to the organization's website or search for the organization through a third party watchdog like CharityNavigator.org.

Scally also recommends sticking with registered 501(c)3 groups, looking for organizations with a proven record of success in disasters, and making sure your money is going directly to those affected by the storm if that's what you prefer. 

And don't forget to check your employer's gift matching program to increase the impact.

The FCC also says beware of fraudulent phone calls from numbers disguised to appear ligament on caller ID. 

"If you're not able to open up your wallet, maybe you can open up your heart in other ways...even if that's just a matter of using your voice and encouraging other people to be kind and give," said Scally. 

Watch Next: Hurricane Ian unleashes on Florida

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