Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Make Sure Your Donation To Haiti Helps

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office urges residents to watch for possible financial scams and questionable charitable pleas related to the earthquake in Haiti.

As Collier County residents open their hearts and their pocketbooks to help those devastated by the earthquake, CCSO is warning that scammers are anxious to take advantage of that generosity.

Before making a donation of any kind, CCSO urges residents to review the following tips:

* The safest way to donate is to make contributions directly to reputable organizations. Don’t rely on others to make the donation on your behalf. Making the donation yourself will ensure that contributions are received and used for intended purposes.

* Never give your personal or financial information, such as Social Security number and bank account number, to anyone who solicits contributions. Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.

* Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages.

* Be skeptical of any individual who represents himself as a surviving victim or as an official asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.

* Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its nonprofit 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.

If you have been the victim of a scam you can e-mail the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at fraud@colliersheriff.net, or call us at 252.9300.