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Analysts Worry that Haitian Relief Efforts May Be Marred by Internet Fraud

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Los Angeles, CAIn the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Haiti earlier this week, many online charities and funds have sprung up to provide relief to the Caribbean nation. Yet analysts are cautioning web surfers to be careful of internet fraud when donating to charities online.

On January 12 a magnitude 7 earthquake struck the tiny tropical island of Haiti. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claims that it is too early to make a firm estimate on the extent of the damage, but early pictures, reports and Twitter posts suggest that the devastation is widespread.

"Whenever there is a major natural disaster, be it home or abroad, there are two things you can count on," says Art Taylor, the president of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance."The first is the generosity of Americans to donate time and money to help victims, and the second is the appearance of poorly run and in some cases fraudulent charities."

Advocacy groups ranging from CNN to the FBI are cautioning charitable web surfers to research any charity they may be considering before donating to ensure that their money is going to those who need it rather than a scam artist or identity thief.

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