As Superstorm Sandy slams into the East Coast, Better Business Bureau warns of scams and complaint issues that circulate with impending natural disasters.
Cybercriminals: Frauds and hackers pursue those looking for news and help. Be wary of:
- Search engine results from unknown or untrustworthy websites.
- Unsolicited emails, instant messages and social media posts from unknown senders.
- Videos or news stories with unusual or shocking headlines.
Protect computers, click carefully and guard personal data. Ensure that anti-virus software, security patches and firewalls are installed, active and up-to-date.
Charities: Faux organizations spring up overnight to prey on compassionate donors’ emotions. Cons impersonate legitimate entities using materials with borrowed names and logos. Hold back from charitable solicitors that:
- Demand donations using threats, aggressive tactics or deadlines.
- Only accept cash donations or checks made out to them personally.
- Can’t explain what kind of relief will be offered, how it will be distributed, who will benefit, when it will be allocated and what percentage of donations benefit causes.
Consider contributing to local or national charities directly by visiting their offices or official websites. Check out charities at bbb.org/charity and visit give.org for advice.
Outrun “storm chasers” with more natural disaster tips. BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington recommends resources at ready.gov, fema.gov, redcross.org and disasterassistance.gov.