Beware of scams related to hurricanes - Word&Way

Beware of scams related to hurricanes

With the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita have come a flood of Internet-based scams.

"PC World's" e-newsletter includes information about several scams people should be aware of as they seek ways to assist hurricane victims.

Credit card fraud

"PC World" senior writer Tom Spring noted that identity theft, credit card fraud and bogus investments are some of the scams showing up on the Internet (

According to Federal Bureau of Investigation, sites by people outside the country have sprung up. While these sites claim to be ways to send financial contributions to victims, site operators are funneling that money into their own pockets.

Water-damaged cars

Spring added that water-damaged cars from hurricane-stricken areas are likely to be sold online or from used car lots, as well.

Hackers are placing news stories online with a "read more" tag that sends readers to Web sites that add Trojan horse software and give hackers control of readers' computers.

In addition, some con artists have set up investment scams to lure people into thinking a stock purchase will help victims.

Victims targeted

Some individuals are even trying to take advantage of the victims themselves through scams related to finding loved ones and securing government or insurance benefits.

Investigate before giving

Check out any group or Web site before donating through the BBB Wise Giving Alliance at or GuideStar at

Or give through an agency you know, such as:

Ӣ Missouri Baptist Convention Disaster Relief, 400 East High St., Jefferson City, MO 65101

Ӣ North American Mission Board, or 1-888-571-5895

Ӣ Cooperative Baptist Fellow-ship,

Ӣ Baptist World Aid, Baptist World Alliance, 405 N. Washington St., Falls Church, VA 22046

Ӣ American Red Cross, 1-800-435-7669

Ӣ America's Second Harvest, 1-800-344-8070

Ӣ Habitat for Humanity, 1-800-422-4828

Ӣ Salvation Army, 1-800-725-2769. (10-06-05)