Protect Your Identity While Donating to Haiti

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

The Haiti tragedy has people all over the world scrambling to donate money to help in the relief effort. It is no surprise that scammers have ramped up and are sending “phish” emails designed to extract your money to their own nefarious cause, “themselves.” Right now, there is 24 hours news reports focusing on the tragedy and people are understandably getting sucked into the drama of the events. This is a prime time to reach out to those same people who are enmeshed in the reports and get them to donate to fake organizations. The following tip will help prevent you from getting scammed and get your donation into the right hands.

Do not donate cash: Anyone asking to come to your home or office and pick up cash is a scammer. Any phone calls or emails received requesting cash or to wire money transfers is a scam.

Be suspect of all emails requesting donations: I would never click on a link in an email, especially short URL’s. Always manually enter the domain name into the address bar. The best thing is to go directly to the organization’s website.

Check with the Better business Bureau: The first thing you should always do prior to making a donation to any charity is to check their credibility with the BBB. Go online to http://www.bbb.org/us/Charity-Reviews/ and search out the charity.

Give only to charities, not individuals: Any communication from someone requesting money because of their hardship is an obvious scam. But some people are saps for an emotional sob story. While you may be savvy enough not to fall for these scams, someone in your life who may be naïve could.

Give now and consider giving to the Red Cross: The American Red Cross is the most known and credible organization on the planet for helping out those in despair. Give now and give as much as you can.

Robert Siciliano is a personal security and identity theft expert for Home Security Source discussing phishing emails on CBS Boston. (Disclosures)

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