It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
False donations Scammers are also flooding email inboxes with messages asking recipients to donate money to relief efforts, said Eric Park, a Symantec researcher with the company's anti-spam team.
"This is very typical, especially with disasters, because they can ask for donations or pose as a legitimate charitable organisation," said Park today.
Another Symantec researcher noted that other scams have appeared taking advantage of news of the earthquake and tsunami. "Symantec has observed a classic 419 message targeting the Japanese disaster," said researcher Samir Patil. "The message is a bogus 'next of kin' story that purports to settle millions of dollars owing to an earthquake and tsunami victim." A "419" scam is a long-used con, named for a section in the Nigerian criminal code, that tries to convince victims to advance funds in the hope of realising a much larger return.
Malicious domains Crooks have also registered a large number of domains with URLs that may fool users into thinking that they're legitimate donation or relief sites, said Patil, a tactic that can also push those sites higher on search results.
Patil said that Symantec spotted more than 50 such domains within hours of last week's earthquake and ensuing tsunami, all with the words "Japan tsunami" or "Japan earthquake" in their URLs. Other security companies have seen the same thing. Last Friday, for instance, Trend Micro spotted numerous parked domains, URLs that have been registered but had zero content, with words like "help," "earthquake," "japan," "tsunami," "relief" and "donations" included in their titles.
Monday, Trend Micro reported on one phishing site that included "japan" in its URL, saying that the site was harvesting email addresses and other personal information from unsuspecting users.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a joint effort by the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, issued an alert last Friday that warned consumers to be wary of responding to donation requests following a disaster like Japan's.
Fake antivirus Fake anti-virus vendors have also gotten in on the action, according to the SAN Institute's Internet Storm Center (ISC). Makers of the bogus security software stay atop breaking news by automatically poisoning search engine results with links to their wares.
The ISC came up with a tally of 1.7 million poisoned pages that tout the earthquake and tsunami, a number beyond even Google's ability to rapidly delete.
Users should donate only to legitimate organisations, and only through those groups' websites, experts said today. The Red Cross, for example, is taking donations on its site. "And remember, many communities have set up their own charity programs, so if you're not sure about a solicitation, go to your local charity, like your local branch of the Red Cross," said Wisniewski.
THE US FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION (FTC) has issued a warning to the public about scam charity appeals pretending to offer aid to Japan after the earthquake and tsunami last week.
The FTC is asking people to be extremely careful as reports surface of a rise in humanitarian relief scams in the wake of the Japanese disaster, which apparently some low-lifes are attempting to take advantage of to line their pockets.
These scams can take multiple forms, with many popping up on websites, social networks and by email. However, there are also a number of them being pursued by phone and in person, which might seem more legitimate to those who are wary of spam and scams on the Internet.
The FTC has a charity checklist that people can use to identify real charities. It also offered a few tips to consumers to avoid being scammed, such as asking the name of the charity, asking what percentage of a donation will actually reach those affected by the disaster, and verifying that the charity has authorised the individual to collect on its behalf.
The US federal consumer protection agency advised that people not donate with cash, as there is no record of the transaction.
It also recommended that people ask for a receipt and only offer their credit card or bank details if they are certain that the individual and charity are legitimate.
Read more: www.theinquirer.net... The Inquirer.