Call fraud hotline for flooding scams

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver said Friday that a fraud hotline and email account have been established in anticipation of scams arising from the flooding on Colorado’s Front Range.

The National Center for Disaster Fraud has a telephone line staffed 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week, and can be reached at 866-720-5721.

The agency also can be reached via email, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

“Unfortunately, there are some who prey on the vulnerable or desperate,” said John Walsh, United States Attorney for Colorado, in a release. “Before giving money to an organization, do your research to ensure it is a legitimate relief agency.”

Federal prosecutors offered these tips:

■ Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming emails, and do not click on links contained within those messages.

■ Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via email or social networking sites.

■ Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to, but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.

■ Be cautious of emails claiming to show pictures of the disaster area in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Open only attachments from known senders.

■ Toward ensuring contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make donations directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.

■ Do not give personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions.

■ Legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations via money transfer services. Most legitimate charities maintain websites ending in .org rather than .com.


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