The news coverage of Hurricane Superstorm Sandy hit airways some seventy-two hours before it slammed into the East Coast. Now the storm has passed and our citizens begin the process of assessing the damage and make a start at putting homes, businesses and lives back together.
There is, and will be, need for aid and assistance. There will also be crooks out looking to get money for themselves in the name of the victims. This happens after any major or even minor disaster. So be on the lookout for scams using the destruction and media coverage of Superstorm Sandy.
Be on the lookout for emails containing links to fraudulent donation sites or that may carry viruses. Do not follow links in emails from senders you do not know. Scam emails may urging you to “see amazing images”, “check out this site” or “watch this” links. These are aimed at getting your money or causing havoc on your computer using your interest and concern as bait.
Please take care with your resources and use caution while online. We join with the FBI and the Internet Crime Complaint Center to pass along these important security guidelines for online giving.
- Do not respond to unsolicited email – just delete them
- Beware of individuals soliciting donations via email
- Do not follow links contained within an unsolicited emails – just delete them
- Only open attachments from people you know – beware of emails with attached files as they may contain
- Make contributions directly to known organizations – do not rely on someone you do not know to make donations on your behalf
- Validate the legitimacy of the organizations before donating to them
- Directly access recognized charity and aid organization through their websites
- Do not provide personal or financial information to anyone soliciting contributions – providing this information can compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft
One sure way to donate is visit the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org (no link here you will need to type it in yourself – just to practice being safe). Navigate to their donation page to help out
If you need to report suspected charity fraud, email the National Center for Disaster Fraud or call them at (866) 720-5721.
You can also report scam e-mails and fraud web sites to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).