Government agencies in the U.S. are warning the public that scammers may try to exploit good-hearted people in order to profit from the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.
For the last two days Hurricane Sandy has caused disaster all over the eastern U.S. and Canada. Millions of people have lost power and the damages are expected to be extensive. Dozens of people have died.
Knox News reports the IRS is warning that people wanting to "open their hearts and wallets" to donate to relief causes could be targeted by scammers. The Ohio Attorney General's Office has issued a similar alert.
IRS spokesman Mark Hanson told the media that swindlers may attempt to use the destruction Sandy left behind in order to scheme money off those wanting to help.
"We naturally want to reach out and help those who face such powerful and deadly storms, and I encourage those who can to do so," said Attorney General Mike DeWine, reported The Columbus Dispatch. "But please be careful. Unfortunately, there are some who might use our generous nature to take the donations for themselves, not for those in need."
Those individuals hoping to help financially with relief efforts can check the status of a charitable organization to see if it is non-profit and tax-exempt by using the IRS' Exempt Organization Select Check tool. Taxpayers can search the site and see if an organization is legit.
Softpedia also warns of Internet scams that are potentially going to emerge on social media and through unsolicited emails.
Unfortunately, scammers often exploit others in the wake of a natural disaster, tragic accident, terrorist attack, or other prominent event. Schemers try to con people by playing on emotions and lure them into financial scams or through fake videos, URLs or other schemes designed to commit identity or financial theft.
No reports of any Hurricane Sandy scams have appeared to emerge yet in media reports, but officials are warning people to be on alert. If past history is any indicator, scams are likely to occur.