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Bogus Haiti relief appeals latest e-mail scam

Feb. 15, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Fraudulent Haiti relief appeals are a vast and growing e-mail scam according to Western Michigan University's head of information technology.

"We are seeing thousands of Haiti-related spam messages daily, many of which are getting thought our spam filters, because they're coming from different addresses every hour," says Dr. James Gilchrist, vice provost for academic operations and chief information officer.

"If you receive an e-mail appeal to donate to Haiti relief and you do not know the sender, delete the message. You should donate online only through secure Web pages of organizations you know and trust."

You can avoid falling victim to Internet scams and identity theft by protecting your personal information and following these guidelines for safe online communication.

  • Never send sensitive information by e-mail, such as your Social Security number, passwords, or credit card or bank account numbers. Don't reply to messages asking you to provide this information.
  • Never publish your full address, date of birth or phone number on social networking sites. Everything you post is public information, regardless of the privacy restrictions you have set.
  • Never make an online purchase before verifying the legitimacy of the company or individual making the sale. Search for complaints and scam alerts on the seller and the item you're looking to purchase.
  • Always use passwords that are not easily guessed and contain a combination of letters and numbers. Change your passwords often and don't share them with anyone.
  • Always logoff and exit the browser completely after viewing your account information, paying a bill or making an online transaction.
  • Always use an up-to-date browser with all current security patches applied.

If you receive a questionable e-mail message through your WMU e-mail account, forward it to abuse@wmich.edu, then delete it immediately, advises Thom Myers, director of electronic communication.

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Media contact: Tonya Durlach, (269) 387-8400, tonya.durlach@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400