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Watch For Scams Newsletter, Issue #009 - Fraudulent charity scams
August 31, 2009

Fraudulent Charity Scams

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

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Fraudulent Charity Scams

In recent times there have been several natural disasters around the world including plane crashes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, and floods that have devastated lives and property.

When people hear about these types of events that can cause emotional distress and great financial loss to numerous victims, individuals across the world often feel a desire to help, frequently by donating money. These tragic events have prompted some people with criminal intent to solicit contributions supposedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause. They are trying to capitalize on people's generosity to others during times of crisis.

You may receive an email directly asking for donations, or the email may be directing you [by getting you to click on a link in the email] to a fraudulent website set up to take the money.

Don't be fooled - the websites can look very professional, and may even copy a genuine charitable website.

It is important therefore, before making a donation of any kind, to follow some guidelines, that include:

* Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail

* Be skeptical of people representing themselves as officials soliciting through e-mail for donations

* Do not click on links contained within spam 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 as providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft

If you are a victim of an online scheme, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at

Remember - always watch for scams!



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