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Helping Houston: Warning signs to watch out for

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Watch the report from John Rawlins on Action News at 4 p.m. on Aug. 28, 2017. (WPVI)

People across the country have been quick to help Houston by sending donations to the Red Cross and other major non-profits. But as always, when sending money there are some warning signs to watch out for.

Since it was activated last week, the Red Cross call center in Philadelphia has received more than 10,000 phone calls from Texans because of Harvey-related issues.

Elsewhere in Philadelphia, a federal fire rescue taskforce that was on standby is now on the move.

RELATED: How to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey

On four hours notice the specialized search and rescue task force was activated by FEMA on Sunday - 11 trucks of equipment and 45 personnel bound from Philadelphia to Texas.

"Twenty of them are from the Philadelphia Fire Department. The other 25 are from surrounding areas," said Philadelphia Fire Dept. Deputy Commissioner Gary Loesch.

They are going down their specifically to assist with water rescues.

"We're sending a lot of water assets. So, they'll be out pulling people off the roof of their houses," said Loesch.

Philadelphia's Red Cross continues to aid victims of Harvey.

Complete coverage of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath

"Right now we've two emergency response vehicles in Texas. We're sending a third out today," said Renee Hughes, CEO of Eastern Pennsylvania Red Cross.

The Red Cross is encouraging those who want to give something, to give blood or money - not tangible items or things.

"Those things have to be cleaned, sorted and shipped. That takes personnel and that takes resources that detract us from our dominate mission," explains Hughes.

That mission is getting people into safe, dry shelters. The need for things, like clothing, will come later during recovery. But for now, money is the need.

"Very quickly, they can grab their cell phone right now and text 'HARVEY' to 90999, and that will make a ten dollar donation," said Hughes.

Already there are countless online sites, including crowd sourcing sites, asking for money. Are they all legit?

"Whenever disaster strikes the scammer come out of the woodwork," says Andrew Goode.

Goode is with the Better Business Bureau. When it comes to charities, his advice is to go to the BBB's give.org.

"(Give.org) rates and evaluates charities basis of twenty standards. And make sure that any charity that meets the twenty standards is accredited by the Better Business Bureau," said Goode.

The bottom line is, if you want to give money to someone, make sure it gets to a legitimate organization.

For more ways to help and more detail, click here.

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