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With Haiti In Ruins, Scammers Seek to Swindle Donors

As aid pours from the coffers of international organizations and individuals, and into the earthquake-ravaged island of Haiti, some scumbag scammers are reportedly looking to take advantage of these donors, hoping to make a parasitic buck off of the tragedy. As FOX News reports, the devastating aftermath of Tuesday's massive quake has seen not only a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions, but a troubling rise in fake charitable organizations, as well.

All Headline News recently warned, via Twitter, of "Haitian 'text-to-donate' scams," and urged people to "only give to orgs you recognize, have researched yourself or are referred by trusted source." The Federal Trade Commission also warns consumers to be wary of e-mail solicitations for donations, even if they may redirect to an ostensibly legit site, or if they make reference to other well-known charities. The Better Business Bureau posted an entire set of guidelines for ensuring your donation is safe, and reminds potential donors of the series of "advanced loan scams" that swindled so many contributors to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

It's a sad and repulsive fact that the most well-intentioned altruism could fall victim to this kind of soulless chicanery nowadays. But don't let that deter you from giving. FOX lists a couple of completely legitimate text-to-donate services: one set up by the Red Cross, as listed on the State Department's Web site (text "HAITI" to "90999" to donate $10), and another set up by native Haitian Wyclef Jean, through his Yele organization (text "YELE" to "501501" to give $5). If you want to give elsewhere, you should double (or triple) check its legitimacy, just to make sure you aren't falling prey to any sick scheme. As this recent calamity so painfully illustrates, scammers are just about everywhere and are willing to go to nauseatingly great lengths to con people. Don't let them. [From: FOX News]

Tags: disaster, disaster relief, DisasterRelief, fraud, haiti, haiti earthquake, HaitiEarthquake, hurricane katrina, HurricaneKatrina, safety, scammer, security, State Department, StateDepartment, top, Wyclef Jean, WyclefJean