(with video below) Requests for charity donations are so common nowadays that they could happen anywhere. This is a truly horrible scam. The crooks come with collection boxes, especially in pubs (where they take advantage of people being tipsy), or even move door to door, selling their emotional stories. It is reported that some scammers even leave bags at people’s doors, with a flyer advertising the charity, using either a tragedy that happened in your city or a worldwide calamity (latest is the Nepal Earthquake, but in the past scammers were using the Oklahoma Tornado, Boston Marathon, Hurricane Sandy, Japanese Tsunami, Chilean earthquake, Katrina, etc).
On the other hand, there are a lot of phishing scams online. After the recent earthquake in Nepal, criminals created fake websites and posted bogus pictures or videos meant to open your heart. Once you click on the links, you'll be invited to submit your personal info or money that doesn't necessary end up in the right hands.
Watch the video below to see a building collapsing during the earthquake (video which has been used by scammers to lure people in):
After the Nepal catastrophe, cybercriminals began spreading malware through email. The emails included a link that claimed to have video footage of the inside job. Subject lines included titles such as “Earthquake Takes Down Building” “Video of Earthquake in Nepal”, or “Aftermath to Nepal Earthquake”.
If you click on the link you are taken to a website which – while showing you genuine YouTube videos of the horrific incident – attempts to infect your computer with a Windows Trojan horse that Sophos products detect as Troj/Tepfer-Q. If the files are installed, the malware makes changes to the computer's registry that allows the hackers to gain remote access to the affected computers.
While the current malware is being sent via email, fake Facebook or Twitter accounts are being created claiming to be raising money for the tragedy.
How to avoid:
You have a good heart and like to help those in need, but what you really need to do is research these organizations first. All genuine charity organizations have to be registered and will have an online presence; if they are small and claim they don’t have a website, always ask them for identification and their registration number. If you donate money, you have the right to know exactly where it is going. And really, it’s better to give, not to individuals with a collecting box, but online directly to the charity.
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Selma HrynchukSelma is a fraud prevention specialist renowned for her expertise in private eye investigations and a remarkable partnership with law enforcement agencies. Beyond her investigative triumphs, her public speaking engagements and written works have empowered countless individuals to protect themselves and stay ahead of deceptive schemes. Selma's legacy shines as a tenacious agent of change, unyielding in her commitment to battling fraud and ensuring a safer world for all.