Consistent with previous guidance on incidents of Phishing/Spoofing and Identity Theft, when considering on-line options for providing funding to this relief effort, consumers should consider the following:
• Do not respond to any unsolicited (SPAM) incoming e-mails.
• To ensure contributions to U.S. based non-profit organizations are used for intended purposes, go directly to recognized charities and aid organizationís websites, as opposed to following a link to another site.
• Attempt to verify the legitimacy of non-profit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources which may assist in confirming the existence of the organization, as well as its non-profit status.
• Be leery of e-mails claiming to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
Several variations of this scam are currently in circulation. Be aware, scammers will attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the relief efforts along the Gulf coast.