For Immediate Release
January 5, 2005
FBI National Press Office
DISASTER RELIEF FRAUD ALERT
D.C. - The FBI today is alerting the public to a variety of scams currently
being facilitated online involving the solicitation of additional relief
funds for the victims of the recent Tsunami disaster. The FBI, through the
Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), has received reports of websites being
established purportedly to assist with collection and relief efforts. Complaints
submitted to the IC3 have identified several schemes that involve both unsolicited
in-coming emails (SPAM), as well as reports of responses to posted email
addresses, to assist for a fee, in locating loved ones who may have been
a victim of the disaster. A fraudulent relief donation website has also been
detected containing an imbedded Trojan exploit which can infect the user's
computer with a virus if accessed.
The FBI, in
conjunction with domestic with international law enforcement and industry
partners, take seriously these egregious actions and are resolved to aggressively
pursuing those who would attempt to victimize philanthropic individuals.
The IC3 is
cautioning citizens against participating in this type of on-line correspondence.
Consistent with previous guidance on incidents of Phishing/Spoofing and Identity
Theft, when considering on-line options for providing funding to this relief
effort consumers should consider the following:
- Do not respond to any
unsolicited (SPAM) incoming emails.
- Be skeptical of individuals
claiming to be surviving victims or foreign government officials asking
for help in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts.
- To ensure that contributions
to U.S. based non-profit organizations are used for intended purposes,
go directly to recognized charities and aid organizations websites, as
opposed to following a link to another site.
- Attempt to verify the
legitimacy of non-profit organizations by utilizing various Internet based
resources which may assist in confirming the existence of the organization
as well as its non-profit status.
- Be leery of emails
that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, as
the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from know senders.
Several variations of
this scam are currently in circulation. Anyone who has received an email
referencing the above information or anyone who may have been a victim of
this or a similar incident should notify the IC3 via the website, www.ic3.gov.
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