WASHINGTON — It didn’t take long. Less than 48 hours after the Haiti earthquake, the FBI is probing suspected charitable scams.
Paul E. Bresson, an FBI spokesman, said investigators have begun looking into a “small number at this point, predominantly unsolicited e-mails” masquerading as legitimate charities seeking donations.
The earthquake may have come as a shock, but the the lightning-quick appearance of possible scams in its aftermath was not.
“In the past with 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami, we’ve seen these types of frauds that have popped up,” Bresson said, adding that many have come in the form of unsolicited e-mails or bogus Web sites.
On Wednesday, in anticipation of the scammers, the FBI issued a public advisory urging people to carefully scrutinize charitable organizations before donating. It warned against responding to unsolicited e-mails and urged Americans to be “skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims.”