FBI Issues Warnings About Hurricane Irene Charity Scams

August 30, 2011

Millions of Americans on the East Coast are preparing for the worst as Hurricane Irene bears down and, of course, for some lowlifes it's just another opportunity to make a dirty buck. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation warns us to be on alert against "fraudulent e-mails and websites claiming to conduct charitable relief efforts.  Disasters prompt individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization or a good cause."

The FBI offers some excellent tips to protect yourself against charity scammers:

  • Do not respond to unsolicited (SPAM) e-mail.
  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as officials soliciting via e-mail for donations.
  • Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
  • Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as 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.
  • Validate the legitimacy of the organization by directly accessing the recognized charity or aid organization's website rather than following an alleged link to the site.
  • Attempt to verify the legitimacy of the non-profit status of the organization by using various Internet-based resources, which also may assist in confirming the actual existence of the organization.
  • Do not provide personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.

If you believe you have been a victim of a charity related scheme, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud by

You can also report suspicious e-mail solicitations or fraudulent websites to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov