Be aware of disaster-related fraud and scams

Inyo County Sheriff’s Office press release

Unfortunately, after disasters, there is a notable rise in email and social media scams. Malicious actors often use social media and email to post false information or links to malicious websites with pleas for post-disaster donations. The United States Department of Justice offers the following tips:

*Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages, because they may contain computer viruses.

*Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as members of charitable organizations or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.

*Be aware of organizations with copy-cat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.

*Rather than follow a purported link to a website, 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.

*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 known senders.

*To ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.

*Do not be pressured into making contributions; reputable charities do not use such tactics.

*Be aware of whom you are dealing with when providing your personal and financial information. Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.

*Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by credit card or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals.

*Legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations via money transfer services. Most legitimate charities’ websites end in .org rather than .com.

 

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