AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It's been less than a week since Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc up and down the east coast, and already scammers are taking advantage of her effects.
It's common for online scammers to try to use disaster situations in their favor and Sandy, or "Frankenstorm" as she is sometimes referred to, is no exception. According to Maine Assistant Attorney General, Linda Conti, scammers have taken a bit of a different approach this time around using social media websites to prey on their victims. Conti urges folks to never donate money through any social media website such as Facebook or Twitter, but instead research legitimate disaster relief organizations who are registered through the state they reside in. "These overnight pop ups that are showing up on Facebook, they have no track record and we no nothing about them so I would encourage people to stay away from them," says Conti.
There are several other measures Conti recommends folks take in order to avoid any storm scammers in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. She says to always research any charity before donating money to confirm it's legitimacy, make sure any online charities have a .org address and not a .com, never wire any money because legitimate organizations will never ask donors to wire cash, and avoid opening spam emails that could contain a virus.
If you have a tip about a possible scammer or you think you've already been scammed yourself, Conti says to report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 866-720-5721, or email your concern to firstname.lastname@example.org.