In a move that should surprise no-one, cyber scammers have started taking advantage of the disastrous situation in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
The scammy email is purportedly sent by well-known CNN International reporter Andrew Stevens, and is urging users to donate money for food and shelter for the victims of this natural disaster.
The email provides the instructions to do so: “If you want to help please contact my personal email so i can send You a western Union info you are to send a Donation, Thank U and God Bless You as U email Back, [email addressed removed].”
These instructions should alert anyone to the fact that there is something fishy about this solicitation, but unfortunately there are always those whose reasoning is incapacitated by empathy or simply those who have rarely encountered a scam of this kind, and they will be contacting the scammers via the email address included in the email.
When they do, the scammers will try to make them send money, but will also keep them in mind for future scams, as they have proven to be easily scammed.
The overall feel and the content of the email are presented in a very genuine and polite manner, so that no one notices that this is an actual scam,” Symantec researchers point out. Also, using the name of a well-reputed journalist adds to the apparent credibility of the email.
After receiving pleas like this one and deciding you want to help, always be sure to verify the authenticity of the organization to whom you are transferring the funds. Donations are usually not collected by legitimate organizations via Western Union, which is, by the way, a favorite money transfer method of cyber crooks and fraudsters.