(TNS) - Authorities are warning residents to beware of possible scammers looking to capitalize on natural disasters.
"When disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes strike, Americans come together to support one another, often by generously giving to charity," Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) spokesman Robin Smith said. "Unfortunately, criminals can impersonate charities and send emails or text messages that steer recipients to bogus websites. These sites frequently mimic those of legitimate charities in order to defraud people out of money or to steal personal financial information."
The crime is known is as a phishing scam, she said.
"Hurricane season is upon us and we have already seen the devastating destruction a hurricane can inflict. We must be prepared, not only for a disaster event, but also to be phished by those who may attempt to take advantage of the generous Americans interested in helping others in need," she said.
FEMA and Homeland Security offered the following tips to help people avoid charity phishing scams:
• Donate to charities you know and trust with a proven track record.
• Hover over links before clicking, to see where they take you.
• Verify charities through sites like the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
• Contribute by check or credit card, or another way that provides documentation of the donation, for security and tax record purposes.
• Don't give personal financial information—such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords—to anyone who solicits a contribution randomly from you.
• Confirm the phone number with the source before you donate via text message.
• Additional tips can be found on the Federal Trade Commission and Internal Revenue Service websites.
©2018 Log Cabin Democrat, Conway, Ark.
Visit Log Cabin Democrat, Conway, Ark. at www.thecabin.net
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.