Internet criminals follow a similar editorial calendar as newspaper and magazine editors, coordinating their attacks around holidays, and the change in seasons. They further capitalize on significant events and natural disasters. Japans earthquake is a biggie.
Whenever a natural disaster hits normal people get an urge to help those in distress. Our want/need/ability to help out comes from thousands of years of communal living as an interdependent species.
However natural disasters also bring out the worst in the bottom feeding sleazebags who smell blood.
Scammers have ramped up and are sending “phish” emails designed to extract your money to their own nefarious cause, “themselves.” Right now, there is 24 hours news reports focusing on the tragedy and people are understandably getting sucked into the drama of the events. This is a prime time to reach out to those same people who are enmeshed in the reports and get them to donate to fake organizations. The following tip will help prevent you from getting scammed and get your donation into the right hands.
Do not donate cash: Anyone asking to come to your home or office and pick up cash is a scammer. Any phone calls or emails received requesting cash or to wire money transfers is a scam.
Be suspect of all emails requesting donations: I would never click on a link in an email, especially short URL’s. Always manually enter the domain name into the address bar. The best thing is to go directly to the organization’s website.
Check with the Better business Bureau: The first thing you should always do prior to making a donation to any charity is to check their credibility with the BBB. Go online to http://www.bbb.org/us/Charity-Reviews/ and search out the charity.
Give only to charities, not individuals: Any communication from someone requesting money because of their hardship is an obvious scam. But some people are saps for an emotional sob story. While you may be savvy enough not to fall for these scams, someone in your life who may be naďve could.
Give now and consider giving to the Red Cross: The American Red Cross is the most known and credible organization on the planet for helping out those in despair. Give now and give as much as you can.
Never give out credit card numbers via an unsolicited email.
Never give out PIN or account numbers to anyone for any reason
Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover.