Unfortunately many cyber crooks are exploiting the tragedy in Japan to get money for unsuspecting surfers. Here are tips from Enigma Software to make sure you don’t become a scam victim.
1. Keep your applications and security software updated
By keeping your programs and antivirus or antispyware programs up to date, you will ensure they are capable of detecting or preventing malicious files in the event that you receive a spam message with a nasty attachment.
Additionally, updated virus and spyware definitions will be able to detect the latest threats that may be sent as a spam email attachment or malicious web site link.
2. Never relinquish credit card or financial information through email or a suspicious site
Reputable sources in the position to help the victims of the Japan Earthquake and tsunami should never ask for any type of financial information via email. Instead, they will take donations through a secure channel.
The secure channel will be a secure page belonging to the organization such as the American Red Cross’ secure address. Sometimes the hackers that spread the phishing and spam emails will provide a link to donate to the victims. If those sites look the least bit suspicious and ask for financial information, do not provide it.
3. Avoid downloading attachments from relief fund emails related to the Japan disaster
A legitimate email from a reputable relief fund organization should not include an attachment in the first place. If you receive a message in the form of a ZIP file or executable, more than likely it is some form of malware that should not be opened.
4. Be on the lookout for videos or media offering footage of the Japan disaster
It may be difficult to resist clicking on a link that offers video or media footage of the Japan earthquake and tsunami but many of these links purposely target gullible computer users leading them to a phishing site.
Just like the fake video links posted on Facebook, hackers could easily post similar links to compromised websites or other social networks such as Twitter. If you have the desire to watch such footage, it may be best to find it directly from a trusted news network.
5. Be Vigilant and Proactive about reporting obvious Japan disaster scams
In the event that you notice a Japan earthquake or tsunami scam, it would be in everyone’s best interest that it be reported to the proper authorities. By reporting such scams, it may potentially prevent other computer users from becoming a victim.