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We know everybody wants to help, but please be sure you know WHO you are sending your money to.

The correct place to donate is at www.RedCross.ORG

There are hundreds of other fake charities, just stick to this one unless you know another one long enough to know its not a scam.

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“They’re using emotion and language that are really just trying to get straight to your heart and straight to your wallet,” said John Harrison, manager of security response at Symantec Corp., which manufactures the Norton line of Internet security products.

So be very careful about online solicitations for help for Haiti because they will come fast and furious.

“We think that there will be nonstop attempts of fake donations via e-mail scams, and this will carry on for the next few weeks, probably months,” Mayur Kulkarni, a Symantec researcher, wrote in a blog posting.

The scammers have become skilled and sophisticated with their attempts to steal your well-intentioned money.

Symantec experts found a phishing attack on the United Nations Children’s Fund, which redirected users to a look-alike Web site, where users purportedly could donate money to the relief fund.

The crooks also use tricks to fool people who use search engines to find ways to donate.

They’ll hijack the logos, graphics, wording and other information from real relief agencies, and then either they create a new, realistic- sounding Web site address “or they compromise an existing Web site on the Internet and hide it within that site,” Harrison said.

“They then use search engine optimization techniques to have the scam site appear high up in the search rankings under popular terms that might be used such as ‘Haiti earthquake donate,’ ” he said.

Harrison said three things may occur when you click on a scam Web site from the search engine results:

• You’re whisked to a fake charity/relief organization that appears real, but the link to donate money actually sends your money to the scammer.

• You’re presented with a “pop-up” that says your computer is infected and tries to get you to install fake antivirus software.

• You’re taken to a Web site that silently infects your computer with malware, software designed to infiltrate and damage your computer system without your knowledge.

“Be cautious of the links you click on, whether in an e-mail, a post from a friend’s social networking profile update or a tweet,” Harrison said.

We will also take this chance to post a video at redcross.


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