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Watch For Scams Newsletter. Haitian Earthquake Relief Fraud Alert
January 18, 2010
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Haitian Earthquake Relief Fraud Alert

Watch For Scams is dedicated to helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

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Haitian Earthquake Relief Fraud Alert

Reports have already been coming in of Haitian earthquake relief scams.

Fraudulent websites have sprung up overnight, and there have been mass appeal emails sent out with fake postal and website addresses to send donations to.

If you intend to donate money in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, you need to be very alert and do your due diligence before responding to those requests. Past tragedies and natural disasters have triggered many scams that are promoted through mass emails as well as advertisements on the Internet and newspapers.

So, before making a donation of any kind, consider these guidelines:

Do not respond to any unsolicited [SPAM] incoming emails, 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

Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group's existence and its nonprofit status rather than following a supposed link to the site

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

Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes

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

If you have received an e-mail referencing the above information or have been a victim of this or a similar incident, you should notify the IC3 via www.ic3.gov.

Remember - always watch for scams!

Steve

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