Beware of Hurricane Harvey Phishing Scams
Beware of fake charities, donations and scams related to Hurricane Harvey Flooding
Yes, citizens of United States of America and around the world should beware of fake charities, donations and phishing scams related to the Hurricane Harvey flooding that started in late August 2017.
About Hurricane Harvey
In late August 2017, Hurricane Harvey has dumped record amounts of rain onto the Texas City of Houston causing catastrophic and life-threatening flooding in and around the fourth largest city of USA. As of this writing on 1 September 2017, receding waters reveal Hurricane Harvey’s death toll to be 44. As per a preliminary estimate from private weather firm AccuWeather, the Hurricane Harvey could be the most costly natural disaster in the history of United States with a potential price tag of around $190 billion.
Phishing Scams and Fake Charities
Amidst the natural calamity and human crisis, online scammers are unfortunately looking to prey on kindhearted people who want to donate and help the Hurricane Harvey victims. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) issued a public warning in this regard explaining cyber thieves are taking advantage of the Hurricane Harvey disaster by offering fake donation options. The scammers are using email and social networking platforms to send out bogus links that (do not) let you help the flood victims. The cyber criminals set up fake charities, donations and come up with phony websites that try to steal your credit card and personal information. Scam charity pages have appeared on Facebook, and some bots on Twitter have been seen posting donation links leading to malicious software or to spam messages.
Caution While Donating
The US-CERT advised people wanting to help donate the victims of Hurricane Harvey to be cautious with any related email that comes with subject line, attachments, or hyperlinks – even if it appears to come from a trusted source. Quite often, fraudulent links or attachments in email direct users to phishing or malware-infected websites. It’s good to verify the authenticity of the organization before donating, by approaching them directly through a trusted contact number. Safe way is to donate to charities you know and trust. You can also verify the registration of the charities in your state through the National Association of State Charity Officials. If you find any such charity or donation scam, the U.S. Justice Department says they should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721. And remember, Phishing scams like this surface every time a disaster strikes.