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/.