Exploiting Hurricane Victims for a Big Payday
As much as I would like to say this is a new trend, I can’t. Hackers have been exploiting tragedies for years for their own gain. Whether it was fake funding accounts for mass shooting victims or tributes to fallen pop stars, it doesn’t matter. If they see a way to exploit a tragedy, they will.
This is exactly what is happening today with hurricane relief efforts for both Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Matthew victims. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a formal warning regarding scammers publishing fake websites vaguely claiming to support hurricane relief efforts. However, there is no real intention to share the collected funds with victims, or first responders.
If you opt to donate, regardless of the cause, it is important you do the following:
- Check the legitimacy of the charity with the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
- Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting the National Association of State Charity Officials. If it must be registered, but is not, it is advised you donate through another charity.
- Never assume that charity messages posted on social media are legitimate. Do your due diligence and research the charity.
- When texting to donate, confirm the number with the source before you donate.
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