Madigan’s office has received emails titled “People being
quarantined” that purport to be an “Ebola Pandemic Update” and
include a link to view a so-called “civilian crisis protocol.” The
email may contain links that could infect a user’s computer. Another
email offered a “surplus personal protection kit” for $29 that
alleges to provide infection defense specifically for members of
emergency response teams and law enforcement agencies.
Madigan urges Illinoisans to be on the lookout for these types of
unsolicited or suspicious emails. Consumers who receive such emails
should delete them immediately. Do not open or click on any links in
“We suspect these emails are the handiwork of scammers seeking to
take advantage of people’s understandable fear and anxiety
surrounding this international public health risk,” Madigan said.
“It’s extremely important that you delete these messages and instead
consult legitimate resources for more information about prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is posting regular
updates regarding the federal government’s response to the outbreak,
including tips on how to minimize the risk of infection, and the
Illinois Department of Public Health recently announced its protocol
in the event of a suspected Ebola case in Illinois.
Beware of Charitable Scams Tied to Ebola
Attorney General Madigan also urged Illinois residents to exercise
caution when donating to charitable aid efforts tied to the Ebola
outbreak. Con artists may seek to exploit the crisis for their own
Under Illinois law, fundraisers and charitable organizations are
required to register each year with the Attorney General’s office.
To assist potential donors in making wise giving decisions, the
Attorney General’s office provides important financial information
about charitable organizations such as income, expenditures, and
programs. You can also check out the following resources to learn
more about specific charities: IRS Select Check, BBB Wise Giving
Alliance, Charity Navigator, GuideStar, and Foundation Center.
To best ensure that your donation will be used for its intended
purpose, Madigan suggested the following tips:
- Ask how much of your donation will go to the charity and how
much will be used to pay fundraising costs. Solicitors must give
you this information if you ask.
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- Pay close attention to the name of the charity. Some
fraudulent charities use names that sound or look like those
of legitimate organizations to mislead you.
- Ask detailed questions about the charity. Donate only
when your questions have been answered and you are certain
your money will be used according to your wishes. Ask
questions like whether the charity is registered with the
Illinois Attorney General’s office and what percentage of
the money the charity takes in goes to fundraising,
administration and charitable programming.
- Do not pay in cash. For security and tax record
purposes, pay by check. Be sure to write the full official
name of the charity on your check—do not abbreviate.
- Request written information. A legitimate charity will
provide you with information outlining its mission, how your
donation will be distributed, and proof that your
contribution is tax deductible.
- Do not donate if the solicitor uses high-pressure
tactics, asks for cash payment or insists on sending someone
to pick up your donation. These are all hallmarks of a scam.
- If you receive an email or text message asking for a
donation, confirm that the request is from the charity, and
not an imposter, by contacting the charity or visiting its
- Be cautious of “look-alike” websites. These fraudulent
websites will often ask for personal financial information
or may download harmful malware into your computer.
- Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook or
social media have already been vetted. Research the charity
Madigan encouraged donors to report suspicious
solicitations to her office’s Charitable Trust Bureau by
calling (312) 814-2595. To report any potential scam to the
Ebola outbreak, contact Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau at 1
(800) 386-5638 (Chicago), 1 (800) 243-0618 (Springfield),
and 1 (800) 243-0607.
[Illinois Attorney General Lisa