Guidelines on How to Prevent Giving
to a Fraudulent Haitian Relief Fund



U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

FBI NATIONAL PRESS OFFICE (202) 324-3691

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JANUARY 13, 2010


Haitian Earthquake Relief Fraud Alert
Washington, D.C. - The FBI today reminds Internet users who receive appeals to donate money in the aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti to apply a critical eye and do their due diligence before responding to those requests. Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause.

Before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, including the following:

•  Do not respond to any unsolicited (SPAM or junk mail) incoming emails, 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 know 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.


Anyone who has received an e-mail referencing the above information or anyone who may have been a victim of this or a similar incident should notify the IC3 via http://www.ic3.gov/.

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