Thursday, September 08, 2005

We just got the attached bulletin in our email. I'll pass it along to
remind people that it's best to give to known charities and avoid the
vultures who are trying to make a buck from someone else's tragedy.
----


SECURITY ALERT

FBI Advisory 9/7/05
Hurricane Katrina Scams Alert

Similar to the Tsunami scams which surfaced last winter, there has been
a rapid increase in websites and associated SPAM being deployed;
purporting to be legitimate fund-raising efforts for the victims of the
recent Hurricane and subsequent massive flooding in the Gulf coast
region. Over the past week there have been more than 500 sites
advertising Hurricane Katrina relief services. On Friday, September
2nd, there were approximately 300 established on that day alone.

The challenge is to quickly analyze and assess those sites which appear
to be illegitimate and to develop a strategy to ascertain the
responsible parties and ensure the safety of the public, who research
these sites. In order to do this, the FBI relies heavily on key
partnerships established with both law enforcement (domestically and
abroad) and in many cases with the well known charitable organizations,
whose good names are being used to give credibility to the scammers.

As with the Tsunami fraud scams, the FBI continues to enlist
substantial cooperation from its law enforcement partners, particularly
the U. S. Postal Inspection Service,
U. S. Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, and a vast array
of state and local agencies. As many of these scams involve
international aspects, our growing partnership with international law
enforcement will be vital in efficiently following and capturing the
evidence trail.

Several matters have been developed and referred out for investigation
throughout the FBI. We expect the number of investigative referrals to
increase over the next several weeks.

Those who desire to contribute to the Hurricane Katrina funds should
carefully research the organizations soliciting funds to ensure the
monies donated will be used as guaranteed. The Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) recommends investigating any charity soliciting a
donation with consumer organizations such as the American Institute of
Philanthropy at www.charitywatch.org or the Better Business Bureau's
Wise Giving Alliance at www.give.org.

Information on suspicious solicitations or websites can be reported to
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) IC3, via www.IC3.gov. Anyone
with information concerning a scam related to Hurricane Katrina victims
is encouraged to contact the FBI at (215) 418-4000.


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