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Could One Good Deed Lead to Identity Theft?

Important alert concerning charitable donations

In light of recent natural disasters, relief efforts often spring up
overnight, making it difficult for the person who genuinely wants
to contribute to recognize the difference between real charity
efforts and fraudulent ones. Fraudsters are increasingly adept at
making a scam charity seem legitimate; therefore, even in times of
tragedy, individuals must use caution, rather than emotion, when
providing assistance.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Center
for Disaster Fraud have issued the following guidelines to help
donators avoid becoming victims of a charity scam:

» Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) incoming emails,
including clicking links contained within those messages.

» Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as
surviving victims or officials asking for donations via email or
social networking sites.

» Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to but not
exactly the same as those of reputable charities.

» Rather than following a purported link to a website, verify
the legitimacy of non-profit organizations by utilizing various
internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the
group’s existence and its non-profit status.

» Be cautious of emails that claim to show pictures of the
disaster areas in attached files because 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.

» Do not be pressured into making contributions, as reputable
charities do not use such tactics.

» 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.

» Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by debit or credit card,
or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks
payable to individuals. posted by Jim Valek on Mon., Nov 19th, 2012 in Identity Theft Insurance



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