Don't Donate Any Money to Haiti Until You Read This!

Since the recent disaster in Haiti, there has been an enormous outpouring of charity towards the survivors. And the criminally minded are having a field day with it.

The Unsuspected Are Getting Fleeced

Cybercriminals have compromised hundreds of domains and web sites, fleecing the unsuspecting do-gooder out his or  her hard earned cash. Here's how it works:

  • A sympathetic soul wants to donate money to Haiti and so does a search to find a charity
  • Since the first 10  search results on Google are poisened, the person is re-directed to a scareware site.
  • The FBI estimates that the scareware distributors have stolen $150M

Advice You Should Be Following All the Time

The advice that the FBI suggests should be followed all the time:

  • 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

Donate to Haiti, But Only Through Trusted Channels

Now that I've scared you off your keyboard, do you still wanna donate? If so, Google has set up a Crisis Response page. The page lists legitimate ways to donate, including donating right from your cell phone!

Tell Me How It Goes For You

Do you plan to or have you already donated? What would keep you from donating, if you haven't already? Drop me some comments, I'd like to hear from you.

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