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"Important Information" Remember the recent earthquake in Haiti? More than 350 complaints were filed about fraudulent activity. So far the FBI is investigating one potential scheme with regards to the earthquake in Japan where fraudsters misrepresent themselves as the British Red Cross and seek donations in the form of wire transfers.

This is just the first, more are sure to follow. So be careful. Here are some guidelines from the FBI about how to protect yourself when donating.

GuidlinesEdit

  • Do not respond to any unsolicited incoming emails.
  • Be skeptical of individuals claiming to be surviving victims or foreign government officials asking for help in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts.
  • Go directly to recognized charities' and aid organizations' websites instead of following a link from an email or another site.
  • Attempt to verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by checking their status with Guidestar.org.
  • Be leery of emails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
  • If you text a donation, keep in mind that it may take as long as 90 days for the charity to receive your gift, according to a tip sheet posted online by Charity Navigator.

Where to Report ScamsEdit

Any suspicious fundraising efforts should be reported to either the National Center for Disaster Fraud or the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

External ResourcesEdit

Better Business Bureau

List of Reputable Donation OrganizationsEdit

For a comprehensive list of donation organizations, click here.

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