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News Release

For Immediate Release
January 15, 2010

Contact:
Senior Assistant Attorney General James T. Boffetti
(603) 271-3643

Haitian Earthquake

Attorney General Michael A. Delaney today issued some tips to help New Hampshire citizens who chose to respond to the victims of the Haitian earthquake and to avoid Internet scams and frauds. "The people of New Hampshire are extraordinarily generous with charitable gifts and have a right to be informed in their gift giving." Attorney Delaney said. New Hampshire citizens should ask a number of questions of those soliciting contributions to ensure a gift is going to a legitimate charity and not lining a scammer's pocket. It is important for people to be alert, apply a critical eye and do their due diligence before responding to requests for financial donations, especially unsolicited requests. Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause.

Therefore, before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, to include the following:

  • Never 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

If you suspect that you have been contacted by a scam group posing as a relief organization, please report it to the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau of the Attorney General's Office at 1-888-468-4454 or file a complaint at www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints.html.


New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658