6th January 2005 - Eset, a global provider of next-generation virus protection, today warned of money collection scams taking advantage of the recent tsunami disasters.
According to Eset, criminals often prey upon sympathy for tragedy victims by emailing millions of spam messages requesting aid sent to a particular bank account, or donated from a website linked to from the email. For instance, after the 9/11 attacks, and the Beslan Hostage crisis at a Russian school, there were a number of such scams circulating. As many of these emails are constructed to look legitimate, philanthropists should be very cautious when making donations by abiding by the following recommendations.
How to Spot a Scam
• If you didn't opt-in: Legitimate charities only send appeals to individuals who have explicitly chosen to receive emails from the organization. Unsolicited, such emails are almost always fraudulent.
• Don't be fooled by appearance: Emails can appear legitimate by copying the graphics and language of a legitimate organization. Many include tragic stories of victims of the disaster.
• Don't click-through to links: Links in emails can lead to "spoofed" websites that mirror the look and feel of a genuine organization.
Making Real Donations
• While some emails may be genuine, it is too difficult to confirm or track that donations reached the intended recipient.
• Type the URL of a legitimate aid group directly into your Internet browser (do not click through from any source).
• Follow the web site's instructions on how to send donations. This will ensure that the funds actually reach the intended recipient, and that these charities will be able to do the greatest good.
"It is a sad fact that criminals will take advantage of the suffering of the victims of tragedies and exploit genuine goodwill for their own gain. We would encourage people to make their donations directly to recognized charities and aid organizations to ensure that they are used for the intended purpose." said Andrew Lee, Eset's CTO.
Lee continued: "Also, users should be very suspicious of any email in the coming weeks that claims to show pictures of the disaster struck areas in an attached file. The attachment is likely to contain a virus. It is always recommended that Internet users only open attachments they are expecting to receive."
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Notes to Editors
Eset is a privately held software development and research company with offices in San Diego, London, Prague and Bratislava. Founded in 1992, Eset has focused on developing innovative antivirus software solutions. NOD32 has evolved from that development process to be consistently rated as one of the best anti virus products, holding more Virus Bulletin 100% Awards than any other product available. For more information, visit www.nod32.com.
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