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As Houston continues to deal with the damage left by Harvey and Florida prepares for the arrival of Irma, it is easy to want to do what you can to help those impacted by these disasters. However, before you open your wallet or log in to your PayPal account, make sure you know who you are giving to, and that you are only giving what you intend to give.
The awful truth is that natural disasters cause spikes in charity fraud. These criminals will go to great lengths to get you to give them your money including the creation of fake social media accounts, websites, and anything else it takes to convince you of their legitimacy. And they aren’t always just after your money. You may be putting your finances at risk by disclosing personal information (like credit card numbers) as well.
Follow the recommendations below from the FTC and the FBI to ensure the money you give goes to those who need it most.
If you are the victim of charity fraud or any other online scam, report it to the FBI. Reports can be filed online at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov) or by calling your FBI local office.