Monday, January 03, 2005

Scams Interfere with Charitable Efforts Responding to the South Asia Tsunami Catastrophe, Warns Robert Siciliano, Personal Security Expert at StreetSa

Scams Interfere with Charitable Efforts Responding to the South Asia Tsunami Catastrophe, Warns Robert Siciliano, Personal Security Expert at (BOSTON -- Jan. 3, 2005 -- -- Con artists have already targeted the South Asia tsunami catastrophe, and would-be charitable givers who want to assist victims may become victims themselves. Better Business Bureaus, state government officials, and experts across the country urge citizens only to support legitimate organizations via secure means. Many expect scams to be in full swing by the end of the week, and identity theft promises to play a major role. "Scams will take advantage of people's goodwill," says Robert Siciliano, author of The Safety Minute: 01. "Just as they did in the wake of 9/11, swindlers and charlatans will attempt to profit off the American people's kindness." A nationally televised authority on identity theft and matters of security, consumer safety, and self-defense, Mr. Siciliano is familiar with the various scams that all but guarantee to interfere with tsunami relief. Stories have been reported of people who may be soliciting door to door or by setting up booths in front of stores. The American Red Cross and a number of other providers of major aid for the tsunami relief effort do not employ such practices. Other reports have surfaced about e-mails masquerading as official solicitations from the American Red Cross and other charities. These are actually phishing attacks that threaten to steal unsuspecting recipients' credit card numbers. To be sure that money is going to legitimate organizations, people should donate at secure Web links such as Since striking just over a week ago, the misery unfolding across South Asia has led to an exceptional level of giving. For instance, according to USA Today, Catholic Relief Services received $1 million in online donations over just three days' time, an extraordinary rate of volume that crashed the organization's Web site. "Charitable response has been immediate and overwhelming, not unlike what we saw after the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center," says Mr. Siciliano. "The tragedy in South Asia has brought out the best in people from this country and throughout the world. Unfortunately, we will also witness the worst from those who see a bonanza for scams. Before people give, they must beware." Mr. Siciliano is available to discuss the threat and ramifications of disaster relief scams. A speaker who leads seminars nationwide, he has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, "ABC News with Sam Donaldson," "The Montel Williams Show," "Maury Povich," "Sally Jesse Raphael," "David Brenner," "The Howard Stern Show," and in Reuters,, Woman's Day, Good Housekeeping, Mademoiselle, The New York Post, and The New York Times. Mr. Siciliano can be reached at 1-888-SICILIANO (742-4542). The following URLs will take you to his Web site and information about him and his consultancy: Main Web Site: http://www.IDTheftSecurity.comMr. Siciliano's Bio: Siciliano's contact information follows: Robert L. Siciliano ( Security Expertphone: 888-SICILIANO (742-4542)fax: 877-2-FAX-NOW (232-9669) The media are encouraged to get in touch with Mr. Siciliano directly. They may also contact: Brent W. Skinner ( Relations ConsultantSTETrevisions, strategic communicationscell: 617-875-4859
fax: 866-663-6557


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