Tsunami Scams: What Are the Four Most Important Things to Do to Avoid Getting Scammed?

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Within hours of the earthquake and tsunami that have already claimed more than 150,000 lives, tsunami scams began appearing both online and offline. Here are the four most important things to ensure you don't get taken.

Within hours of the earthquake and tsunami that have already claimed more than 150,000 lives, tsunami scams began appearing both online and offline.

Scammers posing as tsunami victims or their relatives are already using many different pitches to get people to give them money and to download viruses and trojans. Two of the most common are phishing scams and variants of the Nigerian fee scam.

To avoid getting conned, follow these four principles:

1. Never respond to an email request for a donation — there is almost a 100% chance that it is a scam.

2. Check to make sure any charity is legitimate before contributing. You can read about how to do this on our page on charity scams.

3. Do not open attachments (including supposed pictures of disaster areas) — they may well include viruses.

4. Always use common sense.

"I was not at all surprised that these tsunami scams popped up so quickly, since the same thing happened within hours of 9/11, and right after every major natural disaster since then," says Dr. Audri G. Lanford, Co-Editor of Internet ScamBusters, the #1 publication on Internet fraud. "The fact that scammers take advantage of human tragedy like this fuels our mission to get the word out so that people can ensure their contributions go to victims, not scammers."

Internet ScamBusters was started 10 years ago as a public service to help protect people from clever online and offline scams.

More information about tsunami scams is available at: http://www.scambusters.org/tsunamiscams.html

Contact Information:

Audri G. Lanford, Ph.D.

Internet ScamBusters

828-262-5885

http://www.scambusters.org

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Audri G. Lanford, Ph.D.
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