Scam warning in wake of hurricanes
September 7th 2017
Hurricane Harvey left a trail of destruction in Texas and Louisiana, Hurricane Irma is currently delivering a punishing blow to the Caribbean and threatening Florida, and we now have news of Hurricane Jose to follow. In their wake, we are issuing our own warning … of scams designed to defraud you by exploiting the pain and misery left by this series of storms.
For information and advice on spam and scam email, click here.
Unfortunately, this type of fraudulent activity has become a commonplace occurrence following incidents such as this, other natural disasters, terror attacks, conflicts and political unrest.
Scams are perpetrated via unsolicited approaches by email, text, social media post, or by phone. They may be making bogus charity appeals for financial help for victims and their families, or otherwise direct you to fake news or image websites which, if visited, could infect your connected devices with malware.
The scams can take three main forms:
- emails, text messages or social media posts claiming to be from victims or their families, appealing for financial help
- Seemingly official emails, text messages, social media posts and phone calls claiming to represent charitable organisations working to provide relief for victims. Such unsolicited approaches should be regarded with extreme caution, however authentic they seem and however traumatic the situations they describe. Always research charities online (the Charity Commission website is a good place to begin).
- Invitations by email, social media or text to view traumatic or sensational footage or images connected with the hurricanes. By clicking on such links, you are, again, in danger of ending up on a fraudulent website designed to capture your confidential details with the intention of committing fraud or identity theft. Clicking on fraudulent email attachments can lead to the automatic download of spyware, ransomware or other malware.
Safeguard yourself by following this advice:
- Do not click on links in unexpected / unsolicited emails, social media posts, instant messages, or texts.
- Do not click on attachments in unexpected / unsolicited emails.
- If you get a phone call appealing for charitable donations following the hurricanes, other natural disasters, recent terrorist atrocities or other crises, regard it as fraudulent and put the phone down.
- If you become the victim of a scam, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk
By Get Safe Online