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Beware of scammers who claim help for Boston victims

The local Department of Homeland Security is urging residents to be cautious when contacted by unknown persons, claiming to be with charities seeking money to help victims of last Monday’s bombings that killed three people and injured some 180 during the Boston Marathon in the U.S.


In a media statement issued late Friday afternoon, ASDHS says it has received “credible information warning residents of American Samoa to beware of phony on-line or phone charities asking for donations to help victims of the Boston Marathon explosions.”


It says it has been reported that 125 online domain names related to the bombing have been registered since Monday, as well as a number of Twitter accounts. To date, federal authorities have not received any applications for charities related to this tragedy.


“Residents of American Samoa should be extra cautious if they are asked for funds on the internet or on the phone. ASDHS cautions against giving personal information, such as credit card numbers, over the phone or on-line, unless you are familiar with the organization,” the statement says.


“Unfortunately, whenever there’s a tragedy, unscrupulous people prey on the generous nature of those who want to help. Residents are urged to ask questions before donating,” said ASDHS. Anyone wanting more information can contact the Emergency Operations Center at 699-3800.


State authorities last week issued warnings to their residents to be very cautious when making donations to victims of the bombings and to make sure that it's a legitimate charity. The Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley acknowledged this issue on CNN and urged people across the country to verify the charity’s legitimacy before making donations.


She also says that are legitimate charities including the newly established one called “The One Fund Boston” []


Samoa News reporter Fili Sagapolutele contributed to this report.