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Haiti Relief Scams

January 14th, 2010 by flanews

As people open their hearts and their wallets to help Haitians caught in the debris and rubble, some are trying to make a profit off the tragedy. Scammers claiming to represent victims are online collecting money. Capitol Correspondent Whitney Ray tells us, what you need to look for before giving.

Clee Guerrier is trying to track down loved ones caught in the debris and chaos of the Haiti earthquake.

Im still in shock for the most part and right now my main concern is how are my parents dealing with it, said Clee.

Clee is asking everyone to give what they can, in hopes that some of the aid will find its way to his family.

Whats needed is money. Cash, said Clee.

Technology has changed the way people give in times of great need. Donations can be collected through email, text message or social networking sites. But with new ways to donate comes new ways to rip people off. Email scams have already surfaced. Sales of internet domain names with the word Haiti in them have skyrocketed.

State Representative Yolly Roberson has family in Haiti. Shes outraged that some would try to make money off the suffering of her people.

This is not a joking matter and if anyone would be unconscionable enough to take advantage of this situation for their own purposes, all I can say is its unfortunate, said Roberson.

The Attorney Generals Office is asking people to find out if charities asking for money are registered with the state and to report any suspicious activity.

People can report scams to the Attorney Generals office by calling 1-866-9NO-SCAM or by visiting www.myfloridalegal.com. The AGs office says never give cash because its hard to track it, be wary of solicitors, and give to proven organizations, like the American Red Cross (www.americanredcross.com).

Other reputable charities include www.volunteerflorida.com, and www.yele.org. People want to check on family members in Haiti can call1-888-407-4747

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