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Watch For Scams Newsletter. Fraudulent Charity Requests
August 30, 2011
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Fraudulent Charity Requests

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

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Fraudulent Charity Requests

With the recent event of Hurricane Irene and other natural disasters, including tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes that have devastated lives and property, there has been an increase of scammers to take advantage of people's generosity to help others in their time of need.

In the wake of these events that have caused emotional distress and great monetary loss to numerous victims, individuals across the nation often feel a desire to help these victims, frequently through monetary donations. These disasters prompt individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions supposedly for a charitable organization or a good cause.

Therefore, before making a donation of any kind, you should stick to certain guidelines, to include the following:

Do not respond to unsolicited (SPAM) e-mail

Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as officials soliciting via e-mail for donations

Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail

Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders

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

Validate the legitimacy of the organization by directly accessing the recognized charity or aid organization's website rather than following an alleged link to the site

Attempt to verify the legitimacy of the non-profit status of the organization by using various Internet-based resources, which also may assist in confirming the actual existence of the organization

Do not provide 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 believe you have been a victim of a charity related scheme, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud by telephone at (866) 720-5721, or by fax at (225) 334-4707, or by e-mail at disaster@leo.gov.1

You can also report suspicious e-mail solicitations or fraudulent websites to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov

Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

If you have been a victim of this type of scam or any other Cyber crime, you can report it to the IC3 website at: www.IC3.gov. The IC3 complaint database links complaints for potential referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration. Complaint information is also used to identity emerging trends and patterns.

Remember - always watch for scams!

Steve

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