Stay vigilant: Hurricane Harvey scams are on their way

Felons Plague the Web with Fake Charity Scam Sites

Hurricane Harvey online scams are on the rise

While the world‘s attention is directed to the East Asia, specifically, to North Korea, which again manifests its military power, US residents, especially Texas and Louisiana inhabitants, are concerned how to cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. However, more problems appear as they might face a series of assaults and, this time, cyber ones.

Natural Disasters – Another Way to Extort Money

On 28 August, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, issued an official warning to the virtual community to be wary of possible online scam campaigns[1]. They encourage users to be especially vigilant about the scam emails, which are supposedly sent from official charity organizations.

Unfortunately, past cyber events revealed the potential of cyber racketeers. Leaving aside conscience, you might be astonished by the number and diversity of online scams. For instance, presents a well-devised site which lets you start a fundraiser.

However, the veneer of the very web site resembles the web page offering commercial services rather than non-profit activities. What is more, you will be charged with donations’ processing fees.

In addition, the privacy policy mentions that your “aggregated information” might be shared with business partners. Hardly such web site engaging in online marketing is likely to deliver donated money to the victims of natural disasters.

Unfortunately, there are multiple phishing sites launched by shady individuals, who are more concerned how to access your bank account rather than help the victims of a hurricane.[2] Online deception technique is quite old, however, it gets revived once in a while. Recently appeared 726 ransomware disguised under the name of Redactive Media Group.

Specialists have noticed a hike in new charity websites registered including “Harvey” and “Hurricane.” On the other hand, not all of these sites might be deceptive.

Sadly, such scams are not limited just to cyber space. The Texas Attorney General’s Office reported receiving numerous complaints about rocketing water and other basic commodities’ price in local convenience stores.[3]

Way to Avoid Charity Scams?

Since every deception is based on the gullibility of a victim, you can detect an online deception by following such simple tips:

  • donate only to trusted sources
  • take a look at the privacy policy of a charity site
  • do not open any attachments received from unknown senders even if they pose to be the representatives of fundraising organizations
  • check the contact information provided in a charity domain; websites with no proper credentials should be avoided
  • do not trust disaster relief sites which ask for your direct credit card credentials
About the author
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Anti-malware specialist

Julie Splinters is the News Editor of 2-spyware. Her bachelor was English Philology.

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