As we all look for ways to offer support for the earthquake victims in Haiti we must also be careful not to be scammed in our efforts to help. The FBI and other agencies are now warning that there are also those who are looking for opportunities set up scams surrounding the latest disaster relief efforts.
You should be highly skeptical of any unsolicited appeals you may receive or find on the Internet. Even if it appears legitimate, you should only contribute when you have made the call to the charity. If you are contributing via the Internet do not click on a link taking you to a charitable organization's site, it could be a counterfeit site. Only contribute via the Internet if you yourself type in the Web address and go directly to the site. Even then, only contribute if it is a secure site. Make sure the Web address starts with "https" and not just "http."
One month after Hurricane Katrina, the FBI said it was suspicious of most of the 4,600 Web sites soliciting money on behalf of those victims. Within an hour of the World Trade Center attacks, scam sites popped up on the Web according to ScamBusters.org (you can trust the information at Scambusters.org, they are a long-time client of ours).
So, before you make your contribution please take a few minutes to careful check the charity. To help, here are links to a couple of articles specifically about this.
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