THIS JUST IN:
Warning: Chinese Earthquake Scam Reported - The Collar (usnews.com):
From the story --
The FBI provided a number of tips to help consumers protect themselves from such scams:These suggestions go hand-in-hand with my previous posts on ID Theft here and here.
- 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 recognized 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 website 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 your identity and expose you to identity theft.
Bottom line is that you should contact whatever charity or fund-raising entity you want to give money to. Don't ever accept unsolicited communications, whether through email, phone, mail, or in-person. If you take the initiative and call or go down to the local chapter, you'll be much more assured (but nothing ever is or will be 100% assured) that your money will reach its intended recipient.