updated 9/9/2005 10:39:07 AM ET 2005-09-09T14:39:07

12 p.m. EST

The Internet is playing an increasingly significant role in our lives, especially when major news breaks. After the tsunami struck last December, we saw for the first time the ways that blogs and chat sites could be used to connect us to people who were thousands of miles away. The Internet makes the world seem smaller and brings the tragedies and triumphs directly to our desktops in an even more personal way than television does.

But for all the good that happens on the Web--messages of support and comfort, fundraising and information sharing--there is some bad, as well.

Internet monitors are reporting record levels of scams linked to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. There are countless websites that look perfectly legit, but are run by lowlife scum that prey are our emotions and steal our money.

Today, I'll chat with Jim Lanford of Scambusters.org to share with you a few ways to avoid falling into these traps. I just talked to Jim on the phone, and the take away line I got from him was this: If it's spam, it's a scam. The first rule--always avoid responding to unsolicited emails. Real charities exist. You can seek them out.

We'll have updates today from New Orleans and Gulfport, plus we'll be watching for Vice President Cheney's arrival in the region. Later, a chat with Bishop Eddie Long about the role of faith and the Church in a disaster of this magnitude.

And Monica's back!

Join us.

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