Fake donation and relief fund websites that come up during times of natural calamities like what happened in Uttarakhand of India recently are run by Cybercriminals to spread Malware and steal Personal information.
Security solutions provider McAfee has recently warned netizens to be careful with donation and relief fund websites that come up during natural calamities. The warning came up after they learnt that many Cybercriminals are coming up with fake donation and relief fund websites claiming to help the recovery process of the recent natural destruction that occurred in Uttarakhand, India. Not many people knew, these fake donation websites were in fact spreading malware and are also meant to steal personal and financial information of the innocent people who looked forward to help the victims of the natural calamity.
It is unfortunate that cyber criminals often exploit the situations of such natural disasters. McAfee warned people that these fake donation websites spread malicious programmes, leaving their computers malware-ridden and also risk the loss of their personal data. The cybercriminals operate through emails and also through posts on social networking sites, requesting donations towards fake relief funds. It should be noted that such links can contain malicious software designed to steal your passwords and other important personal information. So people are advised to be careful with websites coming up with claims of relief funds and donations.
To avoid such scams, McAfee recommends people to:
- Be careful while clicking links and browsing through any suspicious websites on social networking sites that come from an untrustworthy source.
- Avoid opening any files attached to an email unless you are sure of what it is, even if it appears to come from someone you know. Some viruses can replicate themselves and spread through email. So before opening, confirm that it is really your contact who sent the attachment.
- Delete chain emails and junk email, and do not forward or reply to any of them. These types of email are considered to be spam, i.e. they are unsolicited, intrusive messages which clog up the in-boxes and networks.
- Exercise caution when you are going to use a donation website to help a cause, make sure the source is a legitimate and reputable one.
- Use safe web browsers and install a free software like McAfee Site Advisor that will provide you simple website safety ratings and a secure search box to help safe browsing, searching and shopping.
Note that these scam websites can also come in other names like fundraising, charity help, disaster management etc.