Following large scale environmental disasters like Hurricane Matthew, scammers look to trick people affected by the storm. That’s the warning from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD), which said these scammers will sometimes pretend to be relief workers in order to get storm victims’ personal information.
SCEMD spokesman Derrec Becker says the best way to prevent fraud is to, “Look for a logo, look for a badge, look for something that identifies that individual as a legitimate agency working the disaster,” he said. “And if (you) feel uncomfortable about that person, call local law enforcement.”
He said relief workers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are not allowed to ask for your banking information or Social Security number.
“Legitimate volunteer organizations offering help would never ask you for personally identifying information,” he said. “So that really is a clue that that might be somebody is trying take advantage of the situation.”
People posing as relief workers aren’t the only type of scam that follows natural disasters. The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) says to also be aware donations made over the internet or phone. US-CERT says to be wary about any emails, social media posts or hyperlinks that asks for monetary donations to help people affected by Hurricane Matthew, even if it appears to be from a trusted source.
Among the most common internet scams are malicious websites made to look like their legitimate counterpart. Look for any small changes in the spelling of the charity’s name or using a different domain (.com or .org versus .net). During the brunt of Hurricane Matthew’s impact on Saturday, Gov. Nikki Haley pointed out malicious emails being sent to victims that asked them to click a link which would allow them to see power outage information. The governor said that link would actually allow hackers access into the compute.
To double check that the organization contacting your for monetary support is legitimate visit National Charity Directory to confirm the contact information.