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Tips for Cybersafety, After a Disaster

Flock of sheep with a fox

It is often during or after times of great stress that we witness Members of our communities coming together to do great things. Unfortunately, there are some people who view these moments as opportunities to take advantage. Although they certainly seem to be in the minority, there are absolutely bad guys out there who exploit disasters such as Hurricane Harvey and attempt to swindle the kindhearted and generous. We’ve got a few recommendations you can follow to confidently give to relief efforts and deter fraudsters after disaster strikes.

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  1. Be wary. Be on the lookout for new (potentially fake) pages on social media channels soliciting for donations. Before you give, be sure the organization is credible. Do your homework to avoid fraudsters who try to take advantage of your generosity. The Federal Trade Commission provides these tips for giving in the wake of Harvey.
  2. Think before you click. When you’re ready to make a donation, use a page you’ve previously bookmarked or type the web address of your charity of choice in your browser. Do not click on links in emails or texts.
  3. Don’t start writing checks to just anyone who asks for it. There have been reports of consumers being called and told their premiums are past due or they need to submit a payment immediately. Don’t do it. Call your insurance agent first and be sure the request is valid.
  4. Stay informed. The Federal Trade Commission also provides information they update regularly to advise consumers about scams and potential scams. They even provide tips for protecting yourself from fraudsters who target hurricane victims.

Ultimately, use the resources that are available to you and don’t be afraid to ask. Your insurance company and financial institution should be happy to clarify if you have any concerns.