The FBI in Honolulu is warning about potential scams in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yutu, which battered a U.S. territory last week.
The category 5 storm was the strongest to hit any part of the U.S. this year and caused massive damage to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a territory northeast of Guam.
“All of our hearts go out to the people in the CNMI at this time,” said FBI Honolulu Special Agent in Charge Sean L. Kaul in a statement. “It is important during times of crisis, we remain vigilant to the numerous types of scams that divert resources from genuine recovery efforts.”
President Donald Trump approved a disaster declaration for the those affected by the storm, which destroyed homes and left the territory without electricity. At least one person died.
The FBI said many feel moved to donate after a natural disaster, but the public should conduct due diligence before giving to anyone soliciting donations for disaster victims.
Some FBI tips to avoid fraud or scams are:
>> Don’t be pressured into donating. Reputable charities do not use coercive tactics.
>> Pay by debit or credit card or write a check directly to the charity and not to an individual.
>> Beware of organizations with copycat or similar names.
>> Don’t click on links in unsolicited incoming emails because they may contain computer viruses.
Suspicious email solicitations and fraudulent websites can be reported to the FBI’ s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.