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Groups warn of e-mail scams to collect relief

September 16, 2001

WASHINGTON — Online hucksters have sought to profit from Tuesday's terrorist attacks with requests for donations for fraudulent charities, consumer protection groups have disclosed.

A statement from Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail and the SpamCon Foundation said the scams started appearing within an hour after Tuesday's tragedy.

"These attempts are taking the form of unsolicited e-mail ('spam') and postings in community forums, soliciting 'donations' in the name of victims of the attacks," the statement said.

"A typical message claims to be part of an 'Express Relief Fund' or 'Victims Survivor Fund.' One message claims that donations will go to the Red Cross, but the donation link leads to a website unconnected with that organization."

The groups said bona fide relief agencies will not request funds by e-mail from people who are not already involved in that organization and that the solicitations may violate laws in the United States and Europe.

"If you don't know the organization or person who sent the request, it's probably fraudulent," the statement said.


by Agence France-Presse, Copyright © 2001


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