Hours after the Haiti earthquake news reports said that people could text "HAITI" to 90999 and a $10 donation to the American Red Cross would be added to your cell phone bill. This is NOT a scam, and it has already generated about 8 million dollars.
While this particular donation method is legitimate, scammers are already gearing up to make money off this tragedy. Here are six tips from the FBI so you can spot the real agencies and avoid the scammers:
• Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
• Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages.
• Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
• Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its nonprofit status rather than following a purported link to the site.
• Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes.
• Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.
More information on Haiti scams that have already launched can be found here: