With Hurricane Harvey spreading death and destruction in Texas unscrupulous scammers are looking to take your money.

The National Center for Disaster Fraud suggests you be aware of and report any instances of alleged fraudulent activity related to relief operations and funding for victims. Unfortunately , criminals look to exploit disasters such as Hurricane Harvey for their own gain. The public should remember to perform due diligence before giving contributions to anyone soliciting donations or individuals offering to provide assistance to those affected by the hurricane. Solicitations can originate from social media , emails , websites , door to door collections , flyers , mailings , telephone calls and other similar methods. 

Before making a donation of any kind , consumers should adhere to certain guidelines , including:

* Do not respond to any unsolicited incoming emails.

* Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as members of charitable organizations or officials asking for donations via email or social media.

* Rather than follow a purported link to a website , verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations.

* Be cautious of emails that claim to show pictures of disaster areas in attached files.

* Beware of organizations with copy-cat names similar to but not exactly like reputable organizations.

* Do not be pressured into making a donation.

* Be aware of whom you are dealing with when providing personal and financial information.

* Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by credit card or write a check directly to the charity.

* Legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations via money transfer services. 

Be smart , Protect yourself and make sure where your money is going.