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E-Mail Scammers Target Donors of Haiti Relief

Cybercriminals are presently targeting well-intentioned people through fake e-mails and spoofed websites, trying to grab charitable donations actually meant for those brutally devastated in the Haiti disaster.

According to a report, dated January 17, 2010, from the security software vendor Symantec Corp. based in California, e-mail scams of the 419 style have started to appear within only a couple of days after the earthquake.

Dylan Morss, senior manager, anti-spam Systems, Symantec, stated that the infamous 419 scam had resurfaced, reported ITBusiness.ca on January 18, 2010.

Morss further explained that the scam was one without any novel technology or revolutionary twist. According to him, the format was like several million 419-type e-mails seen during the past years.

However, the sender in the scam e-mail, instead of posing as an individual looking for transferring money from one account to another, claims that he's an influential person in a group of charitable donors.

In the meantime, Symantec outlines a sample of this type of scam or phishing message on its authorized site.

The company reported that the scammers piggybacking on the Haiti earthquake to fulfill wicked intentions have utilized a postal address that's genuine. They've also included an appeal from BRC (British Red Cross), urging for charity to support the survivors of the disaster.

But, according to Symantec, recipients of this e-mail will probably come to learn that this message is bogus since the BRC never utilizes Western Union for charities, reported ITBusiness.ca on January 18, 2010. Besides, the e-mail id given as the contact address doesn't belong to the BRC. So if anyone sends money based on this e-mail, he would only lose it to cybercriminals rather than have it gone to a Haitian victim.

Moreover, as a wide trap from insensitive and unscrupulous cybercriminals spreads, Symantec suggests people willing to contribute to the BRC donation fund to directly visit BRC's authorized website.

The security firm also suggests certain simple precautions for Internet users that can prevent them from becoming victims of these kinds of fraudulent e-mails, which include not accessing unknown e-mails and avoiding attachments claiming to contain images of Haiti.

Related article: E-Crime Reporting Format To Be Launched in July

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