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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Beware Of The Online Charity Scam

Beware the Online 'Charity' Scam
For many of us, the transition to the New Year was full of thoughts and hopes for a prosperous 2005. But for others in Southeast Asia, the New Year started with a natural disaster in the form of a destructive Tsunami. It was a disaster hard for many of us to comprehend.
There are millions of people in need of aid and assistance, in need of things such as shelter, clothing, food, drinking water, and medications just to name a few. And millions have answered the call. During disasters like this, it becomes apparent there really is tremendous good in humanity. Friends and foe alike set aside their differences for a short while and try to find ways to help.
Unfortunately, just as there are those who legitimately want to help, there are those who will take advantage of them. A lot of times it will be in the form of online charity scams.
It is not uncommon for people with malicious intent to use e-mail and Internet scams to defraud people out of money during a crisis. Although traditional scams requesting money via postal mail and phone calls are quite prevalent, the Internet and e-mail can target many more people and in a very short period of time.
Being aware of online charity scams is your best defense.
If you receive and e-mail requesting donations for any cause from someone or some organization you've never heard of, your best bet is to delete it. In fact, even requests you receive that appear to be from well known organizations may indeed be "Wolves in Sheep's clothing."
Online Charity Scammers have become very adept at pulling the wool over peoples eyes. In some cases, you may even be directed to a website that looks exactly like that of a well known and trusted organization. Only to find out later, after you've made your contribution, that it was a replica or fake, made to look just like the real site.
I warn people all the time to be cautious and selective about what they believe to be true when it comes to the Internet and e-mail. It won't hurt you to do some research and make sure that your donations are going to the right organizations.
The fact of the matter is, more than one person is effected by unscrupulous people looking to make a buck off the misfortune of others. If you become a victim of electronic / Internet fraud in times like these, you're not the only one who will lose out; Those in need of your assistance will as well.
For a list of trusted, legitimate organizations accepting contributions for those affected by the Southeast Asia earthquake and tsunamis, please point your browser to the Network For Good. A coalition of 160 relief, development, and refugee assistance organizations.

Article from www.defendingthenet.com


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