updated 12/18/2012 2:46:36 PM ET 2012-12-18T19:46:36

Americans who want to help in the wake of Friday's school massacre need to make sure they don't fall victim to charity scams.

That's according to warnings from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Austin, Texas and the SANS Technology Institute's Internet Storm Center.

"Following the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut, last week, several new domain names related to those events have been registered," wrote the Internet Storm Center's Mark Baggett in a blog posting. "[Some of these] sites will undoubtedly belong to scammers who will capitalize on people's desire to help by establishing fake charities."

The BBB noted that similar scams usually pop up in the wake of a humanitarian emergency, and "recommends donors avoid giving to charities or funds through unsolicited phone calls, emails, texts or social media appeals."

The BBB suggests that would-be donors avoid clicking on links that come via unsolicited emails, as these "may take you to a lookalike website where you will be asked to provide financial information, or download harmful malware into your computer."

It also asks people to confirm text-message shortcodes intended for charities. For example, the American Red Cross' donation shortcode is 90999, and any other number meant for that organization might put money into a scammer's pocket.

Donors who want to send in a check can make it out to the Sandy Hook Support Fund and mail it to:

Sandy Hook Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street, Newtown, CT  06470

© 2012 TechNewsDaily


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