FBI Alert: Avoid Bogus Haiti Earthquake Donation Scams

Just as we expected, cyberthieves have started new campaigns taking advantage of the unfortunate Haiti Earthquake disaster by sending bogus emails asking for donations to fake relief funds as well as poisoning related search engine results that lead users to sites containing fake antivirus programs.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently warning computer users to use caution when they evaluate donation programs that are supposedly related to the Haiti Earthquake. Already, some security researchers are witnessing evidence of cyberthieves using email scams asking for donations to the earthquake victims families and relief of those affected by the Haiti Earthquake.

The FBI has released an advisory in hopes of limiting the amount of people that fall victim to the new email scams related to the Haiti Earthquake. The FBI advisory reads:

"Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes."

It is almost expected for cybercrooks and hackers to utilize any natural disaster or popular news story to flood computer user's inboxes and sometimes populate related search engine results with malicious propaganda. Already the Google search term for "Haiti relief" turned up a malicious site that was planted with a fake antivirus program. Other reports have poured in stating that users are receiving bogus emails purporting to be from the British Red Cross.

The efforts put in by the cybercrooks are usually to seek out a quick pay-day by scamming the computer user out of money. The deception may begin with a harmless Google search only to find that one of the results may lead the computer user to a site that pushes fake security applications and entice users to purchase the malicious programs.

We cannot reiterate enough what the FBI has advised, do not make contributions to any organizations that you do not know about. In addition, it is suggested that you use caution when searching over the internet for Haiti relief related sites or web pages. Have you encountered any spam messages related to the Haiti Earthquake yet? If so, share your story below, you could be helping someone else by sharing the content of the scam email.

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