EVANSVILLE - Many people are opening their hearts and wallets to help those in need in Haiti, but the FBI wants everyone to be careful who they give their money to. Officials said past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted scams.
The FBI provided this list of things to look for before making a donation:
• Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages.
• Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
• Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group's existence and its nonprofit status rather than following a purported link to the site.
• Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
• Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the
donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes.
• 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.
Officials ask that anyone who gets such an e-mail or may have been a victim of this kind of scam to notify the Internet Crime Compliant Center at www.ic3.gov.
The IC3 is a joint effort between the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance to report and alert authorities of online scams.