Tips & Advice

Beware: Hurricane Ida relief efforts will be accompanied by scams

Christopher Budd, 2 Sep 2021
Christopher Budd, 2 Sep 2021

Ignore lures and reach out to reputable charities like the Red Cross

Hurricane Ida has left a path of destruction along the entire east coast of the United States. While the storm has passed, millions of Americans have been displaced by record-breaking rain, deadly flash flooding, and power outages amid a Covid-19 ridden heat wave. While recovery efforts have already started, it’ll be days before rivers crest and potentially weeks before power is restored.

We encourage you to reach out to trusted, mainstream organizations to make financial donations.

When it comes to unsolicited, inbound requests for money for Hurricane Ida victims, it’s best to ignore them. Scammers often use major disasters to lure unsuspecting (and often elderly) victims who want to help using various methods. They’ll use phone calls, web ads, fake emails, and even in-person visits to ask for relief donations. No matter how convincing or legitimate they may seem just ignore them.

How you can help

If you want to help those in need, it’s up to you to take the first step and reach out to a reputable charity. If you want to check up on a charity before reaching out, use one of these trusted resources: Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, the Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.

What’s more, if you suspect that you’ve come across an Ida-related scam, here’s how you can report online scams and fraud.


Further reading:
What is spoofing and how can you prevent it?
How to identify the language scammers use to scam


The following list of agencies helping with Hurricane Ida relief has been published by Weather.com.

American Red Cross

Help people affected by Hurricane Ida by visiting the Red Cross website or calling 800-RED-CROSS. Donations directed toward Hurricane Ida enable the Red Cross to respond to and help people recover from this disaster. This includes providing food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support and other assistance. If you have the time, you can make a significant impact as a Red Cross volunteer. Review the most urgently needed volunteer positions online.

GoFundMe

GoFundMe connects you to people who need help. The Weather Channel and GoFundMe have teamed up to help people in the path of a natural disaster be prepared and recover quicker than ever before. If a hurricane has impacted you or someone you know, you can start a GoFundMe to get on the road to recovery. You can request help or donate to someone in need.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of Acadiana is listing ways for people to help the victims of Hurricane Ida, whether it be by monetary donation or volunteer work. Check the links and information below for ways to help.

  • Monetary donations: Use this online form or text RELIEF to 797979. Checks can be mailed to: Catholic Charities of Acadiana, PO Box 3177, Lafayette, LA 70502.

  • Disaster Amazon Wishlist: Make In-kind donations to assist in the disaster.

  • To volunteer: Fill out the Hurricane Idea support form.

  • To request help: Request help from Catholic Charities of Acadiana and Acadiana VOAD partners by texting DISASTER to 797979 or fill out the disaster recovery form.

United Way

United Way of Southeast Louisiana is accepting donations and looking for volunteers. It has set up a fund to support both short- and long-term relief efforts. You can find more information on its website.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army also operates a command unit, refrigerated truck, a laundry unit, shower unit, bunkhouse, and two Field Kitchens. These kitchens can produce between 15,000-20,000 meals per day. Visit The Salvation Army online or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).

World Central Kitchen

Chef José Andrés, who leads an organization that provides food relief in areas hit by disaster, tweeted that a team in New Orleans would activate its three kitchen facilities in the city. He said they have supplies already on hand for more than 100,000 meals. Those who wish to help can donate using the WCK website.

Mercy Chefs

Mercy Chefs has served more than 15 million meals to people affected by natural disasters or who have other needs. The group has deployed two mobile kitchens to serve hot meals in Ida’s wake. Donate through Mercy Chefs' website

All Hands and Hearts

All Hands and Hearts deploys volunteers to disaster sites to help with cleaning, rebuilding homes and creating a long-term recovery plan. You can donate to its Ida fund or sign up to volunteer.

Americares

Americares has a fund to support its deliveries of medicine, personal protective equipment and medical supplies to disaster areas.

Save the Children

Save the Children is mobilizing its emergency response team to help children and families in the affected areas. The organization will be collaborating with local education partners in Louisiana and Mississippi to help restore child care and early learning centers impacted by Ida. It has set up an Ida Children's Relief Fund.

Operation Blessing

Operation Blessing partners, staff, and disaster relief volunteers are the first on the ground, partnering with emergency management and local churches to bring food, clean water, medicine and other vital supplies to meet the immediate needs of those suffering. Donate online or visit the Operation Blessing website to find out how you can volunteer.

Rebuilding Together

Rebuilding Together helps local homeowners make critical repairs. There are three ways to help: Donate materials through Rebuilding Together New Orleans’ Amazon wish list. If you know anyone who has been impacted, share the crisis clean-up hotline number with them: (844) 965-1386. Make a donation to Rebuilding Together’s Hurricane Ida disaster recovery fund.

International Medical Corps

International Medical Corps provides emergency relief to those struck by disaster and disease. Donate using their dedicated donation web page.

Pet Relief Agencies

Humane Society Disaster Relief: Donate online.

Louisiana SPCA: Donate online.

Mississippi ASPCA: Donate online.