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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 15, 2010

Be aware of possible Haiti donation scams, FBI tells consumers

Advertiser Staff

The FBI is warning consumers to be aware of possible Internet scams as donations are being sought for Haiti earthquake relief.

Before making any donations, the FBI says consumers should adhere to the following guidelines:
• Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) 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 systems.
• 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 area 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 donations on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for the intended purposes.
• 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 receiving suspicious e-mail, or who may have been a victim of a scam, should notify the Internet Crime Complaint Center at: www.ic3.gov