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'Do research before donating' | FBI warns about giving to Capitol riot crowdfunding, charity sites

"Fraudsters will take advantage of any tragedy to try to steal your money."

WASHINGTON — FBI officials want people to make sure they research who they give money to as charities have been made in the wake of the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

"Fraudsters will take advantage of any tragedy to try to steal your money. Do research before donating — crowdfunding sites can look legitimate but criminals behind them steal money instead of giving to an org/cause. Don't be fooled," said the FBI in a recent Tweet

The FBI did not give a specific example of this happening in the last two weeks but always strives to let people know of schemers that can take advantage of others financially after national disasters.

The following of these tips can help you avoid these schemes, according to the FBI:

  • Give to established charities or groups whose work you know and trust.
  • Be aware of organizations with copycat names or names similar to reputable organizations.
  • Be wary of new organizations that claim to aid victims of recent high-profile disasters.
  • Do your research. Use the Federal Trade Commission's resources to examine the track record of a charity.
  • Give using a check or credit card. If a charity or organization asks you to donate through cash, gift card, virtual currency, or wire transfer, it's probably a scam. Learn more about this trick from the FTC.
  • Practice good cyber hygiene:
  • Don't click links or open email attachments from someone you don't know.
  • Manually type out links instead of clicking on them. 
  • Don't provide any personal information in response to an email, robocall, or robotext.
  • Check the website's address — most legitimate charity organization websites use .org, not .com.

For more FBI information to help you make a decision on whom to give to after natural disasters, click here

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