With many watching events unfold in Japan, the world’s criminal element is seizing the moment. Here are three avenues they are using and what you can do to protect yourself and, if you are so inclined, make sure your donation dollars go to those you intend.
Phishing – There’s been numerous cases of phishing emails requesting donations for the victims. The quality of these attacks range from the very poor to very believable. If you want to donate money to the victims, contact a reputable charity and make your donation directly. Do NOT just click a link in an email you receive, no matter how “official” it seems. If you’d like to verify the charity, the IRS provides this site: http://www.irs.gov/app/pub-78/
Search Engine Poisoning – Be careful when looking for news on-line. The bad guys know people use the major search engines to find the latest news. By manipulating the search results, they are often able to get their malicious sites listed in the top results of your search. If it’s news you are looking for, Google has a handy news filter available after you do a search located to the left of the search results. These stories are vetted and stand a much better chance of being from legitimate sources.
Sensationalism – To the relief of whale lovers worldwide, there is no video of a whale being flung into a building by a wall of water. These outrageous claims are used to lure the unsuspecting to a site with a malicious intent. The more outrageous the claim, he greater likelihood you are being baited. Your best defense is to resist the temptation.