SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD)– The Springfield Field Office of the FBI is warning the public about charity fraud related to the Irsrael-HAMAS conflict.

An FBI news release states David Nanz, special agent-in-charge of the Springfield Field Office, wants to get the word out about complaints of legitimate email addresses of Israel-based people being hacked or spoofed to solicit donations.

“Charity scams can prey on both local communities and vulnerable populations devastated by life-altering catastrophes,” said Nanz. “If you think you have been targeted by a charity scam, report the incident. The FBI is committed to preventing scams and protecting the public from their devastating impact.”

Charity scams are more prevalent during times of conflict like war, natural disasters, or epidemics.

The FBI office has released red flags for possible scams:

  • “Charities” asking you to pay with cash, gift cards, wire transfers, or
    cryptocurrency. Criminals will often encourage payment by methods that make it
    difficult to track or seek reimbursement.
  • Unsolicited emails seeking donations. If looking to fund a charity, visit the website
    directly rather than clicking on links in emails.

In addition, tips can be found below to avoid charity fraud:

  • Research new charities online and verify phone numbers or email addresses before
  • If giving to a well-known, established charity, ensure that you are using the correct
    website. Criminals have been known to engage in “domain spoofing” or “URL
    hijacking” to create look-alike websites with URLs similar in appearance to those
    of known organizations. For more information on domain spoofing:
  • Use the Internal Revenue Service’s website (https://www.irs.gov) to see if the
    charity you are using is registered.

Charity scams can be reported via the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.gov,) 1-800-
CALL-FBI, or FBI Springfield at 217-522-9675.