Doing the Right Thing: Tips on Disaster Relief Scams
In the wake of the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti on the 12th of January, requests for aid were immediate and ubiquitous. New technology, such as Twitter, has enabled the rapid collection of donations, as reported by the New York Times, "Burst of Mobile Giving Adds Millions in Relief Funds".
Countless website carry links to relief organizations and information on how to contribute. Among them, Brown's Swearer Center has compiled a list of possible organizations to accept relief donations.
With this rush to help, the Federal Trade Commission along with a multitude of new sources, warns of fraudulent organizations. They've published their warning to consumers, and the FTC's Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, David C. Vladeck, has posted his common sense advice in his blog article, Helping Haiti? Give Wisely.
In addition to email scams, less than scrupulous organizations and their websites, and "vishing" attempts (scam requests for donations via the phone, i.e., by voice), you should also be on the lookout for "poisoned" results when searching for Haiti Earthquake details. Read F-Secure's "Haiti Earthquake: Another Rogue Rides the News" for details.
The lesson: Help the victims of this tragedy without becoming a victim yourself.