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Authorities said there is often a spike of bogus sites or social media pleas for donations in the wake of a disaster, where scammers prey on those looking to lend support.
“Almost immediately after this tragedy happened, there were over 125 different websites that were trying to acquire people to donate money. And also on Twitter accounts that’s also out there ‘if you return a tweet, a dollar is donated’ also proceed with caution,” Suffolk Police Homeland Security Department commanding officer William Silva told WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall.
He said those looking to offer assistance should stick with charities that you’ve heard of and that you know are legitimate.
“These sites may actually look legitimate but just have something just off in it like a .com versus a .net – so you really have to be savvy when you’re choosing a charity,” Silva told Hall. “Never send any sensitive information like personal information about yourself or about your bank accounts or anything like that to anything that may not look legitimate.”
A Suffolk county woman was recently arrested and charged for allegedly scamming residents out of hundreds of thousands of dollars after pretending to have cancer. Authorities contend she spend all the money that was donated to her to buy heroin.
The website CharityNavigator.org monitors scams after disasters and offers advice on donating.
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