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On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 8.9 quake rocked Japan and caused a massive tsunami that wreaked havoc on the entire country. Cars and entire buildings were towed away like little toys as entire towns were leveled by the 30-foot waves.

Estimates say it could cost anywhere from 100 to 300 billion USD to repair the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami, but this still doesn’t compare to the thousands of lives lost in the calamity. Over 11,000 lives have been claimed, and with 17,000 still missing, the death toll will probably rise as time goes by.

Yes, Japan (where I learned my deft ninja skillz) is a strong and capable country, and there’s no doubt in my mind that it will recover from this tragedy stronger than ever. But that may take time, and the fact of the matter is Japan still needs our help.

Just as I’m certain that you’ve seen photos of how quickly Japan has repaired many of its vital roads and infrastructure (Ridiculously high-tech – Go Japan!), I’m sure you’ve also seen many tragic pictures of the current situation and its survivors. Thousands upon thousands remain homeless, living under harsh conditions in refugee centers.

The worst part is that the crisis isn’t even over yet. Japan still faces nuclear meltdown threats and still needs a helping hand…a lot of helping hands, actually.

The good news is that the Forex community is stepping up its game as Forex brokers and traders around the world are doing their part in contributing to Japan’s relief efforts.

Two brokers who have shown initiative to help are FXDD and FXCM.

FXDD has donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross, while also promising to match all clients’ donations. Meanwhile, FXCM, which actually has some satellite offices in Japan, is also contributing $25,000 and matching employee donations roughly equal to $100,000. Way to go fellas!

If you are willing to take part in the relief efforts, please feel free to donate at our FirstGiving fundraiser page. No matter how big or small your donation may be, it will surely be appreciated and will go a long way in helping all those who have been affected.

Be mindful though that there are scammers out there who are taking advantage of people’s kind-hearted efforts. Several fraudulent emails from “victims of the quake” or from “charitable organizations” are already circulating, either to solicit funds for their own benefit or to make the unsuspecting reader download malware. Despicable!

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself from such scams:

  1. Do some background research on the charity before contributing. It’s time to put your own ninja skills to work!
  2. Never fork over your cash or give your credit card number in response to an unsolicited email, text message, or phone call. NEVER.
  3. Verify that an individual or company will forward the donations to charities by contacting the main organization.

If you need to file any fraud complaints, you’re in luck because the FBI and its sidekicks, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National White Collar Crime Center, came up with the Internet Crime Complaint Center or IC3. You can also contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 1-866-720-5721.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s never too late to donate and always remember to stay vigilant, mate!