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FBI Warns About Crooked Charitable Organizations Seeking Help for Haiti

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI issued a warning Wednesday about charitable organizations seeking donations for relief efforts, saying “apply a critical eye”.

“Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause,” the FBI said in a statement.

“Therefore, before making a donation of any kind,” the FBI said, “consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, to include the following:

* 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.

* 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 purported 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.

The FBI said “anyone who has received an e-mail referencing the above information or anyone who may have been a victim of this or a similar incident should notify the IC3 via www.ic3.gov.”


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