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Aggieland Credit Union
Risk Alert – Beware of Bogus Charitable Solicitations
The FBI has issued warnings in the past that individuals may use tragic events such as the Boston Marathon bombing to generate fraud. These fraudsters use emails and social networking sites to gain access to computers through malicious software.
For example, a spam email with the subject line “Boston Marathon Explosion” may attempt to lure the victim to a bogus website or into taking other actions (such as downloading software to view pictures, videos or files) that put their computer at risk. The perpetrators may also try to solicit donations.
The FBI has previously published the following specific guidelines to consider prior to making an online donation of any kind. Read the full press release:
- Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages, because they may contain computer viruses.
- Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as members of charitable organizations or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
- Beware of organizations with copy-cat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.
- Rather than follow a purported link to a website, verify the legitimacy of non-profit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its non-profit status.
- 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.
- 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.
- Do not be pressured into making contributions; reputable charities do not use such tactics.
- Be aware of whom you are dealing with when providing your personal and financial information. Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.
- Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by credit card or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals.
- Legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations via money transfer services. Most legitimate charities websites end in .org rather than .com.
Consumers should also report suspicious e-mail solicitations or fraudulent websites to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
New Scam Announcement
Beware! A new scam is going around that insidiously targets consumers who have already been victims of other types of scams. These “recovery room” con artists promise to recoup money lost for a fee, often totaling in the hundreds of dollars. All the while the victim never gets any money back and ends up being doubly taken advantage of. If you have been a victim of a scam please be aware.
There are many other scams on the rise. Check out our recent blog post "Feel Like Losing Your Shirt to Online Fraudsters? Follow These Easy Steps." This post will help you determine if the deal is too good to be true, or not.