Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tip of the Week: Haitian Fraud Alert

It's Thursday - and this is my first post of the week.

In case anyone was wondering, I've spent the past few days ending video for footage for television pilot. It's due out west in just over a week and, well, that hasn't left much time for blogging.

Thankfully, the project is back on track so I'm able to resume a semi-normal life.

Anyway, enough with the sidebar stuff.

This week's over Tip of the Week comes to us courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the island nation of Haiti on Tuesday.  Government sources say that the death toll from this disaster could be as high as 100,000 and that it has effected several million people.

One of the unfortunate things about the aftermath of disasters like this - besides the obvious - is that it brings out a multitude of scam artists who look to make a quick buck from everyone's sympathies. They create what appear to be legitimate appeals support, but any donations they receive are routed to their own pockets.

In order to minimize this, the FBI recommends that everyone follow a few simple guidelines.
  • Do not respond to any unsolicited 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; and
  • 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.
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 Internet Crime Complaint Center via www.ic3.gov.

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