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Thursday
Sep132001

Don't Be Fooled By Terrorism Related Scams

As the nation comes to grips with Tuesday's terrorist attacks, attempts to fraudulently profit from the attacks have already begun. You may have seen unsolicited email messages or postings in community forums soliciting "donations" in the name of victims of the attack. Do not be fooled.

Typical fraudulent messages claim to be part of an "Express Relief Fund" or "Victims Survivor Fund". One message claims that donations will go to the Red Cross, but the donation link leads to a Web site unconnected with the Red Cross.

The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE) and SpamCon Foundation offer these tips to help determine whether a request is valid:

-- If you don't know the organization or person who sent the request, it's probably fraudulent.

-- Virtually no bona-fide relief agencies request funds by sending email to people who are not already involved in that agency. Solicitations made in this way may also violate laws in the United States and Europe. (See http://law.spamcon.org.)

-- If you click on a link to donate, examine the URL shown in your browser. If the domain name of the URL is hidden, unfamiliar, or doesn't match the link's text, the request is probably fraudulent.

-- Verify the solicitor's identity through another medium (such as phone) before giving money. Spammers frequently forge the identity and style of well-known entities to gain credibility.

If you want to make a donation, the Red Cross is a legitimate organization active in supporting victims of the tragedy and their families. To donate, visit their official Web site (http://www.redcross.org) or call 1-800-HELP-NOW. If you have trouble reaching the Red Cross directly, donations are also possible online through PayPal (http://www.paypal.com) and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com).

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