DENVER (CBS4) – The terrifying pictures of the disaster in Japan have many people wanting to help. Unfortunately, scammers are counting on it.

It’s human nature to want to help, but no matter how — by text message, phone, or by going online, scammers are lurking.

Visit for the latest on the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

“A lot of fly-by-night websites being created overnight, spam e-mails going out, and with the texting being so popular, we want people to be aware of that there are definitely scams out there,” Megan Miller with the Better Business Bureau said.

One place scammers seem to swarm are social media websites. Another scam is when a fake charity tries to imitate a legitimate charity. It’s happened before to the Red Cross.

“This is one of the most common things in charity fraud; they use the names of reputable organizations to gain people’s trust,” Miller said.

The BBB also warns of charitable organizations that contact people.

“Anything that’s unsolicited, any unsolicited e-mail, text, phone call, even door-to-door might happen,” Miller said.

To be safe donors should contact the charity, go through their website, instead of clicking on a posted link.

Disaster relief efforts are sure to pick up momentum in the coming days and weeks. Remember never give a cash donation and never wire money. Most importantly, do research.

“You want to know exactly how that charity is getting aid to Japan, getting aid to the victims,” Miller said.

Go to or the Colorado secretary of state’s website, even the BBB’s website. All have ways to make sure the charity is legitimate.

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  1. email archiving system says:

    Whereever there is disasters and chaos, people ready to profit in this kind of situations are always there. I know we cannot never get rid of them. but at least I think there sould be a specific law against scams. Not regular scams, there are already laws against them in general, but the law against scams run during disasters, wars and similar events or situations.

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