Hearts and prayers are with the people who are affected by Hurricane Harvey along the Gulf Coast. To rebuild will take effort and financial contributions.

Jessie Schmidt of the Better Business Bureau in South Dakota wants to remind people that this will be a long process and people need to be careful about where to donate money.

“What’s happening in Texas is not going to be fixed today, tomorrow, next week or next month. This is a disaster that will take a long time for these people to recover. If you want to give a gift to give immediate relief to people, you want to go to these long-standing organizations that already have boots on the ground.”

Along the lines of reputation, Schmidt says that scammers will try to use that standing to their advantage.

“There are organizations that have similar names to other charitable organizations. That’s why you really want to make sure that you are giving the money to a place that has a track record. Since the last biggest natural disaster, GoFundMe for example has gone a long way to tamping fake campaigns down right away. In the past, people have raised money only to not have it go to the place where it was intended to go.

Be on guard against the phishing emails that will come to your inbox. Schmidt strongly advises against clicking on links that are contained in those messages.

The safer way to donate is to search out charitable organizations on your own and be sure the website is secure before you make your pledge.

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