September 2, 2005
Contact: chris riggall
Secretary of State Cox Joins in National Warning
ATLANTA … Secretary of State Cathy Cox today warned Georgians to be wary of phony hurricane relief emails and web sites that have popped up in several states this week.
Secretary Cox joined with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other state securities regulators in warning Georgians to exercise extreme caution in responding to charitable appeals that claim to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina coming by phone, door to door and especially via e-mail. The FTC has received multiple reports of individuals using fake Hurricane Katrina donation web sites to steal money, capture user names and passwords, and install spyware or Trojan software on computers. The websites/domains in question include: katrinahelp.com, katrinarelief.com, and katrinacleanup.com.
Other fraudulent e-mails have been found to contain a link to sites that resemble well known charities like the Red Cross, where they ask for information about bank accounts, passwords and credit card numbers.
“Unfortunately, with any disaster con artists emerge from the shadows to take advantage of the generosity of our fellow citizens,” Secretary Cox said. “Assistance to Hurricane Katrina victims is desperately needed, but we should all take care to give wisely. To do so, visit www.fema.gov which provides a list of reputable charitable agencies directly involved in hurricane relief, beginning with the Red Cross and the Salvation Army” said Secretary Cox.
Securities regulators are also warning investors not to fall prey to cold calls from salespeople or e-mails and web postings that tout investment pools or bonds to help hurricane victims in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida. Investors should steer clear of any kind of investments in oil and gas, supposed water-removal or purification technologies and electricity-generating devices. Georgia investors should contact the Secretary of State’s Securities Division to check that the seller and the investment are licensed and registered.
Any Georgian who receives a suspicious charitable or investment-related solicitation is asked to immediately contact the Secretary of State’s Securities Division at 404-656-3920.