Post-Collapse: Don’t Get Scammed, Says FBI

By Anna Schecter

Aug 2, 2007 2:58pm

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has sent out a public service message: don’t get scammed by phony charities looking to capitalize on yesterday’s tragic bridge collapse in Minnesota.  The FBI warned consumers to ignore unsolicited (SPAM) e-mail and validate the legitimacy of organizations soliciting cash to help victims and families of those injured or killed in the collapse.  Experts say "charity scamming" happens often after disasters, including 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Blotter: More Than One in Four U.S. Bridges Ailing, Studies Show "It happens so often it’s almost frightening," said Jack Cloonan, former FBI agent and an ABC News Consultant. Hurricane Rita and the Virginia Tech shootings also prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions for a charitable organization, according to the FBI. "People have an emotional connection to those who have gone through a tragedy, and so many scammers prey on that," said Cloonan. The I-35 West bridge near Minneapolis collapsed last night during rush hour killing four people and injuring 79.  Twenty people are still missing, and the death toll is expected to rise. Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

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