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Superstorm Sandy Spawns Superstorm Charity Scams

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Newark, NJAs if the massive destruction left by Superstorm Sandy wasn’t enough, the devastation from the hurricane has also spawned a predictable and unfortunate rash of consumer fraud scams, chief among them is the bogus charity con.

Consumers and residents in all affected areas and beyond are being warned by state attorneys general, business and consumer groups and the Justice Department to be wary as requests for donations start arriving via email, text message, telephone and Twitter.

According to information posted on, over 1,000 Internet addresses that relate to Hurricane Sandy have been registered since Friday, November 2, and they reference everything from “hurricane”, to “frankenstorm” to “aid” and “relief.”

While not all websites are dubious, people should exercise caution and a healthy degree of skepticism when being asked to donate to a charity they don’t recognize, or send cash.

Here are some basic tips on how to avoid being scammed, courtesy of

Charity Scams

Be extremely wary of phone calls seeking aid contributions. Hang up on any call using high-pressure tactics to request an immediate donation.

Watch for warning signs that an appeal might be a scam. These include an organization with a name similar to that of a widely known charity, a caller who's unable to answer questions, or one who offers a prize in exchange for a donation. More details are available at the Federal Trade Commission.

Never send cash. You can't be sure it will get to the organization.

Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments contained within aid-related spam, even if they claim to contain pictures of damage caused by the storm. The attachments could be viruses.

Evaluate a charity carefully before giving to it. Vet them via the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Bureau; the Foundation Center, a New York-based authority on philanthropy; or Charity Navigator, an independent nonprofit organization that evaluates charity groups based on effectiveness and financial stability.

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