Agencies Warn Public of Potential Katrina-Related
September 13, 2005 -- In the
wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the Houston Police Department
and other law enforcement agencies want to remind citizens of
their heightened risk of becoming victims of fraud, identity theft
There are individuals who use traumatic events
such as this one to prey on the survivors of Katrina, as well
as compassionate citizens who want to help them. HPD wants to
offer helpful tips that citizens can use to avoid becoming victims.
* Do not make a donation over the Internet to
the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army as scam artists design
fictitious Web sites that look legitimate to gain your credit
* Do not make a donation or provide your credit
card information, personal information or bank routing number
to anyone who initiates contact with you by phone, e-mail, or
* Be aware of your surroundings and what's going
on around you. Stay alert to anyone attempting to look over your
shoulder to obtain your password while using your credit or debit
* When using your credit/debit card, always block
the view of the keyboard with your hand or body and do not enter
the PIN number if others can see the screen.
* Predators are aware Katrina survivors recently
received a debit card from FEMA and the American Red Cross, and
the amount of money on it.
* Once your transaction is complete, put the
money away and leave immediately. Do not stand there and count
Remember there are several local organizations
such as the Houston Food Bank you can visit to make a donation
or you can contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-HELP-NOW.
At this time, no citizens of Houston have reported
being the victim of such a crime. However, if you suspect you
have been the victim of a crime or your identity has been stolen,
please contact your local law enforcement agency.
For additional information, please
contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.