LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - With Hurricane Harvey causing what's likely to be billions of dollars in damage and forcing thousands out of their homes, it's only natural that many will want to help.

It's also likely that some will try to take advantage of the generosity of others.

It's important for you to research organizations seeking donations to those affected by the storm.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has some tips about charitable giving:

-Wiring money is like giving cash away. If you wire money, there is no protection for you if you later learn that the recipient is not who they claimed to be.

-Never give out personal or banking information in response to a phone, email or mail inquiry. Contact the entity requesting the information directly through a different method to verify that it is a reputable company with which you have an existing relationship.

-Never send money to someone who you do not know and have not met in person.

-When purchasing items or services online, make sure you research the seller and know their physical location.

-If you are giving to charity, especially in the wake of a natural disaster, give to an organization that has a strong history of providing relief. Instead of paying in cash, make a check or money order payable to the charitable organization, not an individual.

-Most importantly, if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Investigate the offer before accepting or paying any money.

To search charities, click here.

Texas Cares

THV11 and our parent company TEGNA is raising money for the American Red Cross, Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Click here to donate.