The FBI asks that individuals beware of e-mails claiming to seek donations for major disaster relief efforts. The FBI will be checking for fraudulent websites and e-mails and will thoroughly investigate all complaints.
There have been recent natural disasters throughout the country that have devastated lives and property. In the wake of these events individuals often feel a desire to help, frequently through monetary donations. Unfortunately, these events have also have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause. Before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, to including:
Tips on Avoiding Fraudulent Charitable Contribution Schemes
- Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.
- Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as officials soliciting donations via e-mail .
- Do not click on links within an unsolicited e-mail.
- Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
- To ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.
- Validate the legitimacy of the organization by directly accessing the recognized charity or aid organization's website rather than following an alleged link to the site.
- Attempt to verify the legitimacy of the non-profit status of the organization by using various Internet-based resources, which also may assist in confirming the actual existence of the organization.
- Do not provide personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.