The earthquake disaster in Haiti has been nothing short of horrific. Good people across the globe are contributing to the relief efforts. However, you want your charitable dollars and giving budget to go to the best organizations and not fall victim to the lowest of the low: disaster scammers.
The FBI has issued their warnings and has set-up a hotline with the National Center for Disaster Fraud to report suspected scams. Call 1-866-720-5721 or simply go to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages.
- Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
- Beware of organizations with copy-cat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.
- Rather than following a purported link to a website, verify the legitimacy of non-profit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its non-profit status.
- Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
- Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions. Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.
- Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by debit or credit card, or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make check payable to individuals