Donors from across the globe are giving generously to support victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal. Scammers know this, and these con artists are using social media to fool potential donors into giving to non-existent charities.
How the Facebook Scam Works:
You are on Facebook, and you see a post in your newsfeed. It’s a shocking image from the recent earthquake in Nepal, and it’s accompanied by a request for donations.
Here’s an example:
If you click on the Facebook page, you will notice that it was set up only a few days ago and isn’t associated with an established charity. The page claims to be collecting money for the victims of the earthquake and it encourages you to click a link to donate. Don’t do it!
Many Facebook pages requesting donations have been created in the wake of the Nepal earthquake. Unfortunately, this now happens with every major tragedy. Some pages are outright scams: con artists pocket the donations or use scam donation forms to collect banking information. Others are created by well-meaning people or groups. They may have good intentions, but they lack the infrastructure of an established charity. Still, others are "click bait" designed to create a large number of followers that can later be sold to a new page owner.
Other scams are propagating around the Internet in the form of emails that may contain links or attachments that direct users to phishing or malware infested websites.
The US Computer Emergency ReadinessTeam (US-CERT) encourages users to take the following measures to protect themselves:
- Do not follow unsolicited web links or attachments in email messages.
- Maintain up-to-date antivirus software.
- Review the Federal Trade Commission’s Charity Checklist.
- Verify the legitimacy of the email by contacting the organization directly through a trusted contact number. Trusted contact information can be found on the Better Business Bureau National Charity Report Index.