A Word of Warning about your Donation to Charity

Neil Schwartzman
By Neil Schwartzman
Senior Director, Security Strategy, Receiver Services

Many of us have seen the heart-wrenching scenes from the world’s latest natural disaster, in Haiti, and want to help.

Unfortunately, there are some who would take advantage of the situation, and people’s charitable nature, and put fraudulent requests for money online. As Linda McGlasson over at the Bank Info Security blog said ‘there Is a special place in hell’ for people like this.

Let’s hope so, because the sad, awful truth of it is that Symantec is reporting that they have already seen spam fraudulently claiming to be from the Red Cross, soliciting donations for Haitian Earthquake relief funds. There have been sporadic reports of fraudulent tweets on Twitter, and some Google search results have been skewed in an attempt to divert people to malware and phishing sites.

The FBI & and the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) have deployed a telephone hotline (866) 720-572 and an email address [email protected] to report any suspected Haitian earthquake relief fraud.

Do not use links to potentially fake charities from anywhere but the most trusted of reliable sources.

To be safe, check the list of charities at www.whitehouse.gov.

If you are in Canada, the Canadian government is matching private donations – you can find more information here: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/750738

If you are in another country, check out your federal government’s or local newspapers’ websites to find out where best to send funds.

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t let these bad actors scare you off from doing the right thing. Please donate generously, if for no other reason than to prove the world is a better place than they make it out to be.

Return Path employees, friends & family can donate at http://www.firstgiving.com/returnpath. Return Path will be matching funds, dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000.

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