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Watch For Scams Newsletter. Scammers May Use Paris Terrorist Attack to Solicit Fraudulent Donations
February 16, 2015

Scammers May Use Paris Terrorist Attack to Solicit Fraudulent Donations

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Scammers May Use Paris Terrorist Attack to Solicit Fraudulent Donations

In the wake of the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo in Paris last month, the FBI is warning the public about fraudulent solicitations of donations for victims.

These solicitations come in many forms, such as crowdfunding platforms, e-mail campaigns, or cold calls, and scammers may divert some or all of the funds for their own use.

A number of charities and crowdfunding campaigns have already begun soliciting donations. In general individuals and businesses should be wary of suspicious e-mails, telephone calls, or websites that solicit donations in response to any event.

Crowdfunding—soliciting money from a large number of people primarily over the Internet—offers scammers a new venue to easily solicit funds with minimal oversight. Red flags to look out for include:

• The charity refuses to provide detailed information about its organization or how the donation will be used

• The charity uses a name closely resembling that of a reputable organization

• The charity pressures individuals to donate immediately

• The charity asks for donations to be sent through wire transfers, cash or virtual currency

• The charity guarantees a monetary return for a donation

The presence of one or more of these behaviours does not conclusively mean a charity is fraudulent; however, individuals and businesses should always verify a charity’s legitimacy before making any donations.

If you believe you have been a victim of this type of scam you should promptly report it to the IC3's website at The IC3's complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration.

Remember - always watch for scams!


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