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Alert your co-workers, friends, relatives and neighbors / word-of-mouth is fraud's worst enemy!
TSUNAMI DISASTER-BASED FRAUD ALERTS AND WARNINGS!
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The devastation caused by the tsunami in Southern India is bringing fraudsters out in droves.
Scam letters will soon be flooding your mailboxes, both email and snail mail.
I simply cannot list all the scams that will arise in the several few months. As I write these words, Nigerian Scam letters are being created that will:
Counterfeit Check schemes will hit new highs. ALL Nigerian-style scams use the Counterfeit Check and/or Overpayment scheme at every opportunity.
(Because of your contract with your bank, you are legally obligated to pay your bank for the entire amount of the counterfeit check(s) you deposit. It is your obligation under the law to verify the validity of any check you wish to deposit or cash. You MUST contact the actual account holder of the check to verify that the check you are holding was made out to you, EVEN IF IT IS A CASHIER'S CHECK, before you submit the check for deposit. It is not the responsibility of your bank to vouch for the validity of any check you deposit.)
Phony charity web sites will be thrown up knowing that most people simply don't know how to qualify a legitimate charity. Some phony charity.com web sites will use the name of a legitimate charity mixed with a phony name to fool you. Beware of mirror sites: the start of a legitimate charitable organization's URL will look like this > http://www.charity.org. A mirror site's URL will not AND the donation page will not be secure. A secure web page starts with https://. The "s" stands for "secure site."
Religious scams will abound. Beware of missionary appeals, donation requests, phony symposiums. Do not donate to any religious organization until you have fully verified their validity on your own.
Beware of phony investment scams that supposedly raise money for rebuilding tsunami ravaged areas (these are known as High-Yield Investment Program scams or HYIP or may be called something else entirely by the swindler). They will promise huge returns on your investment and may claim that they are backed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and/or the Word Bank, or may claim they are sponsored by the United Nations.
Charitable Donations: The Basics
(Courtesy of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance)
1. Do not give cash; always make contributions by check and make your check payable to the charity, not to the individual collecting the donation.
2. Keep records of your donations (receipts, canceled checks, and bank statements) so you can document your charitable giving at tax time. Although the value of your time as a volunteer is not deductible, out-of-pocket expenses (including transportation costs) directly related to your volunteer service to a charity are deductible.
3. Don't be fooled by names that look impressive or that closely resemble the name of a well-known organization.
4. Check out the organization with the local charity registration office (usually a division of the state attorney general's office) and with your Better Business Bureau.
Exemplary List of Charities that have been checked out by reputable organizations
(in alphabetical order)
Some of the above charities are additionally recommended by
contact local churches, temples, or mosques of long standing in your community that are collecting funds on behalf of recognized tsunami victim organizations.
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