FBI issues fraud alert warning about Haiti donation scams

The FBI issued a warning to those wanting to donate money to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti to make sure they are giving money to a legitimate charity.
Tragedies bring out not only the best in people, but the worst, too. Major disasters have been a catalyst for scammers, who know people will be digging into their pockets to help those in need. If there's a chance at getting people's money, the crooks will pounce on it like a shark sensing blood.

It happens during hurricanes in the U.S., it happened with the Indian Ocean tsunami and it is certain crop again in the coming days -- if it hasn't already started.

The FBI offers the following advice for those considering making donations:
  • Don't reply to unsolicited emails or click on any links in them
  • Be wary of people claiming to be an official or a victim asking for a donation
  • Rather than follow a link intended to show you a claim is legitimate -- it's easy to spoof a real site -- go to the known site of the charity without following the links, such as the American Red Cross' RedCross.org.
  • Don't open email attachments, such as those claiming to show pictures from the disaster, unless it comes from a known sender
  • Make your contributions directly to a charity rather than going through someone else
  • Don't release your personal information to someone soliciting money
If you receive a suspicious email or have been a victim of a scam in the name of helping the victims, report it to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Before you send money to a charity, you can also check on their track record by visiting these sites:

The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance
Charity Navigator
Read Full Story

Can't get enough personal finance tips?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from consumer news to money tricks delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.