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Not all calls from 'charities' legitimate


Last updated 7/17/2008 at Noon

Since late May there have been several natural disasters throughout the country which have devastated lives and property. In the wake of these events, individuals across the nation often feel a desire to help victims, frequently through monetary donations.

Tragic incidents such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the recent earthquake in China have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause.

Therefore, before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, including the following:

• Do not respond to unsolicited (“spam”) e-mail.

• Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as officials soliciting via e-mail for donations.

• Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.

• Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.

• To ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.

• Validate the legitimacy of the organization by directly accessing the recognized charity or aid organization’s Web site rather than following an alleged link to the site.

• Attempt to verify the legitimacy of the nonprofit status of the organization by using various Internet-based resources, which also may assist in confirming the actual existence of the organization.

• Do not provide personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions; providing such information may compromise one’s identity and make a person vulnerable to identity theft.

To obtain more information on charitable contribution schemes and other types of online schemes, visit

Victims of online schemes should notify the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) by filing a complaint at

Courtesy of Internet Crime Complaint Center.


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