A couple weeks ago, Hurricane Dorian struck and devastated our friends in the south. After natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian, cyber scams often target people who are in need or looking to help those in need. Many affected victims need to get their homes cleaned up or repaired and bystanders are looking to help relief funds. Scammers might pose as officials looking to trick you into providing personal information or even financial information for disaster related programs and foundations. Always be vigilant when approached with natural disaster related emails, text messages, and/or voice messages.

The Best Way to Help Those in Need

If you are looking to help those in need through volunteer services or monetary donations, do your research first. Suspicious emails and/or phone calls will most likely try to get you to pay money either by gift cards or wiring money. If you do choose to donate, you’ll want to ensure that your money is going to the intended victims, not the scammers. So always pay by credit card or check and engage in foundations via web searches rather than unsolicited emails or phone calls. If it seems suspicious, it most likely is suspicious. You can also perform due diligence on the relief foundation of your choice. Simply run a web search on its name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.”

Seeking Assistance Properly

If you are specifically affected by the storm or have friends/relatives affected by the storm, you may have a larger target on your back. Note that a government official asking for financial information or money to apply for aid that you can request on your own for free is a scam. Generally, government agencies do offer aid but you will have to apply to request. If someone reaches out to you and asks you for money or your financial information, such as bank account or credit card number, it’s a scam. For example, FEMA doesn’t charge application fees. If someone wants money to help you qualify for FEMA funds, it’s a scam.

Unfortunately, scammers don’t care about rubbing salt on the wounded. You must always stay alert to natural disaster or even man-made disaster related scams. Always be careful of how you pay, who you’re paying and and always look out for the warning signs. If you think you may have jeopardized your company’s credentials by falling victim to one of these scams, allow us to help.