Charitable Contribution Scams
With so many reputable and very deserving charities in the world, it is a tragedy that there are depraved individuals who prey on the good will of honest people by posing as a charitable organization in order to steal their money or their identity. These faceless criminals manage this through sending out what is known as "phishing" emails. The FBI announced that this type of unlawful online activity is at the top of their list of fraudulent claims.
How they do it:
Phishing is a term used when describing an illegal operation of an individual or individuals who pretend to be from a legitimate organization in order to get someone's secure information, such as a social security number, or to obtain money. This is done through spam emailing in the hope that at least a small percentage of those who open this will fall for this scheme. A website link is included that navigates to a home page that, while it may look like the real thing, it is not. They often refer or claim to be working on behalf of an actual and well known business or organization. However, it is only a faÃ§ade. Instead, it is being sent to a computer network designed by the scammers behind this email. This is the breeding ground in which your I.D. is stolen from you all too easily, or your bank account is drained.
Recent announcement of a "phishing" scam
The FBI released a warning statement in July of this year regarding a reported charitable contribution scam. Many complaints were made to the federal agency about individuals with criminal intent who were taking advantage of the tragic events from recent hurricanes and earthquakes encountered this year. These predators were sending mass emails all over the world claiming to be official representatives soliciting money for highly recognized public service charities, such as The Red Cross. They were using such devastating disasters when they knew people's sympathy and generosity would be at the highest in order to bilk them for money as well as credit card numbers and other normally well-guarded confidentialities.
Here are a few helpful tips offered by the FBI to help protect you:
- Do not respond to unsolicited email.
- Only donate money through the legitimate websites of well known organizations.
- Use your internet browser to go directly to these sites. Never click on links in these types of emails because you may be opening yourself up to viruses and a host of other issues.
- There are many internet resources to verify the legitimacy of most enterprises.
Don't let allow yourself to be victimized by these immoral and unlawful individuals. In all cases, be very wary of anyone who claims to be representing a business or charity and asking for a donation through an email. Keep apprised of the latest scams by going to the FBI's website on a regular basis.