Experts: Do your research before you donate for Hurricane Florence relief

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Experts say scammers will most certainly take advantage of Hoosiers' generosity during Hurricane Florence, so you should be careful if you choose to make a donation.

FOX59 has spoken to a number of people and organizations in central Indiana that headed towards the east coast to offer help, including supplies, high-tech equipment, and even ambulances.

If you're here at home, though, you may decide to offer your own help through a donation.

"Unfortunately there are people that take advantage of this," Central Indiana Better Business Bureau CEO Tim Maniscalo said.

Scammers always pop up around disasters, so Maniscalo said you should research a charity before you give on a website like Give.org.

If you see a fundraiser run by an individual on a website like GoFundMe, Maniscalo said you should be especially wary, since it may not be vetted and your donation will not be considered tax-exempt.

"You’ve got to watch out and make certain that you give to a legitimate organization," Maniscalo said.

One legitimate organization that will be in the Carolinas to help is The Salvation Army. The Indiana division had not been deployed as of Thursday, but did have 12 teams ready to be called in if Hurricane Florence wreaks havoc.

"We know that they might need us and when and if they need us, then we’re ready to go," Maj. Dan Sawka said.

Sawka also said money, not physical items, are best for now, so that crews on the ground can assess what's going on and make your money count in an emergency.

"I would just highly recommend any entity that is nationally known," Sawka said.

For a list of highly-rated charities by category, specific to Hurricane Florence, go to this page from Charity Navigator.