Home > News > Please don’t give generously to the spammers and scammers

Please don’t give generously to the spammers and scammers

In an insightful article in Messaging News, Japanese Earthquake – How to Give Without Being Taken, Melisa LaBancz-Bleasdale argues that the catastrophe currently unfolding in Japan is just the sort of event to make the eyes light up of anyone who uses the Web for less than wholesome purposes.

Technology has moved on since the tsunami in Aceh in 2005, so our malicious friends have moved on. There are two main ways that these people cause aggravation, although the mechanism that these messages are delivered to the (potential) victim have evolved. Social media means an explosion in the ways that you can fall victim to these people, although good old email scams are still common.

The first is soliciting donations to a hastily set up fund, where those affected by the disaster will not see a penny of the cash. This is not a new phenomenon but, in the old days, you would have to search out the collecting tin. These days it’s so quick and simple to donate, and the scammers fully appreciate this.

The other thing to be aware of is using email attachments and web pages to spread an array of nasties. They could be hiding malware, viruses, bots; the consequence of harbouring one of these things varies but it is fair to point out that they are not there for your benefit.

Common sense should mean that you shouldn’t fall victim to most of these threats but the author offers 2 pieces of sage advice:

…donating only to established organizations that exist regardless of the circumstance instead of those that pop up around a specific situation.

Viewing footage from local news stations, national news sites and reputable sources helps to greatly minimize your risk.

Combine these with not opening attachments unless you are sure they are kosher, and you’ll be fine.

I do not miss the irony that I am warning about dodgy weblinks to donate to and now I am providing a link to a (genuine) charity. You can make a donation to the British Red Cross, or preferably don’t take my word for it and Google it.

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