FBI Warns of Scams Targeting El Pasoans in Wake of Winter Storm
The winter storm that wreaked havoc on the state left many Texans in the dark, in the cold, and in need. Many charities have been set up to help those in need by providing food, supplies, and monetary aid.
Most are legit, and really do want to help others. But there are people who only care about helping themselves … to your money. And after natural disasters like the recent storm they crawl out of whatever dark corner they inhabit and try to separate you from your money.
FBI El Paso Division officials are cautioning El Pasoans to beware and be aware of scammers and scams trying to take advantage of your kindness.
“Charity fraud scams can come to you in many forms: emails, social media posts, crowdfunding platforms (GoFundMe, for example),” officials warned in a statement. “Always use caution and do your research when you're looking to donate to charitable causes.”
The agency has provided the following tips to protect yourself and avoid these types of schemes:
• Never let anyone rush you into donating. Pressuring you to act right away is something that scammers do.
• Be aware of organizations with copycat names or names similar to reputable organizations.
• Give to established charities or groups whose work you know and trust. Don’t assume that charity you have seen on social media or online is legitimate, even it if was sent to you by a friend.
• Be wary of new organizations that claim to aid victims of recent high-profile disasters.
• Do your research. Use the Federal Trade Commission's resources to examine the track record of a charity.
• Give using a check or credit card. If a charity or organization asks you to donate through cash, gift card, virtual currency, or wire transfer, it's probably a scam.
• Don't click links or open email/text attachments from someone you don't know.
• Manually type out links instead of clicking on them.
• Don't provide any personal information in response to an email, robocall, or robotext.
• Check the website's address—most legitimate charity organization websites use .org, not .com.