Online Fundraising an Invaluable Tool for Disaster Relief Donors Should Be Wary of Potential Scams



    WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Online fundraising is one of the most
 essential parts of fundraising for the American Red Cross and many other major
 charities across the country. Of the $503 million raised to date for Hurricane
 Katrina, $265.1 million has been raised through online donations.  However,
 generous Internet surfers should be wary to ensure that they don't get taken
 advantage of by a scammer looking to capitalize on the misfortune of others.
     "Online fundraising is critical, especially during times of disaster,
 because it immediately provides the Red Cross with the resources that it needs
 for effective disaster response," said Sue Woodward, Director of Direct
 Response Fundraising.  "About 53% of money that the Red Cross has received for
 Hurricane Katrina is from online channels, including redcross.org and our
 online partners that are assisting us in handling the large volume of generous
 donations."
     The American Red Cross considers the security of the donation website
 http://www.redcross.org and its donors to be of paramount importance. As such,
 the organization uses several layers of protective measures including, but not
 limited to, blocking and filtering technologies, surveillance, system updates
 and anti-fraud measures. In addition, the Red Cross performs system
 vulnerability assessments using internal resources and external, third-party
 assessments.
     E-mail solicitation is another tool used by the Red Cross in its
 fundraising efforts.  However, e-mails will only be sent to individuals that
 chose to receive the monthly electronic newsletter that the Red Cross
 produces, titled the "One Minute Update", or to donors that previously made a
 contribution.  Do not respond to any unsolicited e-mails asking for money.  It
 is most likely a scam. And, note that the Red Cross never asks for personal
 information in an email. This is done only at our official site.
     Nationally, the Red Cross also partners with several different web sites
 for cash donations to ensure that our donors can give to the Red Cross quickly
 despite the recent influx of donations.  These sites include Amazon.com,
 Apple's iTunes Music Store, Convio, Microsoft/MSN, Network for Good and Yahoo.
 Donors may give to one of our official partners or through our website.  To
 see a list of our official national donation sites and their URLs please
 visit, http://www.redcross.org/officialdonationsites.
 
     About The American Red Cross
     American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary
 donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims
 of thousands of disasters across the country each year by making a financial
 gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red
 Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in
 need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Donations are being
 accepted at Coinstar machines at select grocery stores across America. To find
 the nearest Coinstar machine, visit http://www.findcoinstar.com. Contributions
 to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross
 chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
 Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting
 http://www.redcross.org
 
 

SOURCE American Red Cross

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