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Scammers Trying to Profit from Katrina Disaster

Scammers Trying to Profit from Katrina Disaster



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Sandra Yi ReportingDisasters like Katrina bring out the best and worst in people. Already some are trying to take advantage of the situation.

When disasters happen, scammers prey on people's generosity. Consumer advocates say it happens all the time.

Francine Giani: "We saw a lot of this during the tsunami, we saw it during Elizabeth Smart, we saw it during 9-11, Oklahoma bombing."

Now add Hurricane Katrina to the list.

Francine Giani: "We're getting calls from people indicating that they're receiving phone calls asking for donations, and we would caution people about giving to those kinds of solicitations."

It seems everyone wants to help. There are dozens of donation websites, but consumer advocates warn not everyone has the best intentions. Some try to take advantage of a bad situation.

Francine Giani: "A lot of people are indicating that these false donation foundations are trying to gain money, capture user names, passwords, and they may lead you to install spyware or trojan software on your machine."

Many of them originate outside of Utah, so they can't be tracked.

Francine Giani: "You put in a credit card, I have no idea where that credit card is going. And the saddest part is, it won't go to the victims of the hurricane."

Consumer Protection is urging people to research an organization before they donate. Keep in mind, all charities that solicit Utahns have to be registered with the state.

For more information and for a list of legitimate charities, check the link at the top of this story.

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