Americans are the most generous people in the world. The earthquake tragedy that happened in Haiti brings out the best in all of us to help people in time of need. However, be cautious when donating to Haiti relief programs.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is urging Minnesotan to work with trusted, well-established volunteer agencies. Criminals are out there just waiting to jump on the chance to steal your money. These people have no conscience or moral ethics unlike most Americans who really care about helping people.
The FBI has provided the following guidelines if you are planning to donate cash to any relief fund.
• Do not respond to any unsolicited (SPAM) incoming emails, including clicking links contained within those messages.
• Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials 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 know senders.
• Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes.
• 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.
Remember, you want your cash donations go to volunteer organizations that can quickly pay for response and recovery efforts, and provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors to meet their own needs. Those interested in contributing to help the victims in Haiti can visit www.interaction.org/crisis-list/earthquake-haiti to obtain a list of credible responding agencies for international emergencies