FBI warns netizens against Internet frauds on Haiti relief

"The FBI today reminds Internet users who receive appeals to donate money in the aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti to apply a critical eye and do their due diligence before responding to those requests," it said in a statement.

The FBI issued the warning after detecting such solicitation on the Internet.
"Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organisation and/or a good cause," the FBI said.

Before making any donation, FBI urged netizens not to respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages and be sceptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.

It also asked people to verify the legitimacy of non-profit organisations by utilising various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group's existence and status rather than following a purported link to the site.

"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," the alert said.

It asked donors to make contributions directly to known organisations rather than relying on others to make the donation on their behalf.

"Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft," the FBI said.

As Americans came out in large numbers to make donations for rescue and relief operations for the victims of the devastating quake in Haiti and several news channels also made similar appeals to the people on their network.

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