With Hurricane Irene behind us, there are billions of dollars in damages left for the victims, insurance agencies, and the government to pay to get things back to normal. In fact, Hurricane Irene is proving to be one of the 10 costliest catastrophes in the nation’s history; so it makes perfect sense that there would be charities and foundations springing up to help everyone get back on their feet. The FBI warns us to be careful of exactly who or which charities we hand our hard-earned money over to.
After times of crisis, people feel the need to help out those affected by donating money to charity. However, just as some people feel the need to help, there are others who feel that they can unjustly profit from these charitable donations, which is exactly who the FBI warns us to be careful of.
Some tips that the FBI offers are:
- Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mails claiming that they are part of a charity or are collecting money for a good cause. In fact, most of these e-mails that reach your inbox without you asking for them will most likely be attempts to either trick you into paying a fake charity or will attempt to install some sort of malware on your computer.
- If you do open one of these unsolicited e-mails, do not click on any of the links in them (as they might lead you to websites that secretly install malware on your system), and under no circumstance open any of the attached files, whether they be PDF or image files, they might still pose a threat to your computer’s security.
- To make sure your charitable donation goes to the right cause, make sure to donate to well-known organizations instead of groups that promise to deliver your funds to the right people. In fact, if sent in an e-mail, search for the charity’s or organization’s website instead of clicking a link in the e-mail (as the link in the e-mail might take you to a fake website designed to look like the real thing).
- For the FBI’s full list, click here.
When looking to make a donation, keep these tips in mind, and if you suspect that you might have been a victim of charity fraud or suspect an e-mail or a website of being fraudulent, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud by:
- Calling (866) 720-5721
- Faxing (225) 334-4704
- Or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org