Police: Beware of Hurricane Harvey scams

Police: Beware of Hurricane Harvey scams

GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Gastonia police are warning the public to beware of scams that may be related toward Hurricane Harvey.

According to the Gastonia Police Department, "criminals view tragedies like Hurricane Harvey as an opportunity to commit fraud."

Police say scammers use could potentially use the telephone to solicit money. Officers say the "caller portrays themselves as representatives for a charitable organization.  In most cases, the caller ask for a small donation that can be made by credit or debit card."

Officers are warning you to never give your financial card information over the phone.  If you give the solicitor your card number, then the criminal has access to your financial account, according to police.

Gastonia police say scammers can also use the computer to solicit money from you. Police said you could potentially receive an email or see an advertisement of a "charitable organization promising to send money to hurricane victims." The scammer would then ask you to make a contribution or donate online by using your debit or credit card, officers said.

If this happens to you, police say you should delete the email, research the organization and then make contact with them. Police said if you still want to donate to the organization then you should speak with someone face to face, depending on whether they have a local office.

Some scammers also stand on the side of intersections and hold signs claiming to be displaced by the storm, Gastonia police said. "It's not uncommon to see these individuals with pets or small children," according to officers.

According to the police department, the "roadside solicitor" usually prefers a cash donation.

If you feel like you may have been a victim of fraud, you can call the Gastonia Police Department at 704-866-6702.

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