The FBI is warning those donating money and goods to help victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood to be aware of scammers.
The Pittsburgh office on Wednesday said it has been made aware of potential scammers looking to prey on donors, but didn’t offer specifics.
“FBI Pittsburgh wants criminals who plan to exploit people’s pockets and generosity to know it won’t be tolerated,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Robert Jones.
The FBI offered these tips to help people avoid being scammed:
- Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming emails, including by clicking links contained within those messages, because they may contain computer viruses.
- Be cautious of individuals representing themselves as victims or officials asking for donations via email or social networking sites.
- Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.
- Rather than following a purported link to a website, verify the existence and legitimacy of non-profit organizations by using Internet-based resources.
- To ensure that contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make donations directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.
- Do not be pressured into making contributions; reputable charities do not use coercive tactics.
- Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions.
- Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by debit or credit card or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals.
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