I’ve been in the internet safety business a long time and I’ve noted a sad and consistent criminal phenomenon that follows on the heels of disasters, both man-made and natural. Criminals will try to leverage very basic human impulses to steal your money. The scams that began popping up within the first 24 hours following the horrific Japanese earthquake and tsunami include many different forms. Be on the lookout for emails, telephone calls, sidewalk solicitors, links in social networks, web ads and other methods that seek charitable donations or offer video footage of the disaster. Make sure your children know that text donation services are not to be used without your guidance and permission. If donating to a charitable group, make sure you are on the genuine website or speaking with a real representative by typing the web address or dialing the phone yourself.
Be sure to speak with your children, your friends, co-workers and your parents to be on the lookout for possible scams and dangerous links. It would be such an additional injury to those suffering in Japan to have much needed funds and assistance diverted by crooks and for your charitable impulses to be stymied.
For more on this issue I have some additional articles for you:
To make genuine and much needed donations to the emergency relief, contact credible and longstanding international charitable groups. To find the official contact information for your charity of choice, visit Charity Navigator at http://www.charitynavigator.org/.