Symantec warns public over Haiyan online charity scams

Figure_0In light of Typhoon Haiyan, security vendor Symantec has warned the public to remain vigilant following a series of online charity scams.

Over 10,000 people have died as a result of the disaster, which has decimated Leyte and Samar Provinces in the Philippines.

Call for aid has been raised by several NGOs and organisations worldwide, and this has been accompanied by a wave of spam emails pleading for members of the public to donate to disaster relief.

Phoney donation requests have been posted on different social networks – as well as many popular websites – and have also been sent directly to peoples’ email accounts.

The spammer invariably claims to be a news reporter working in the affected region, and says they are helping victims of the typhoon. They discuss transferring funds through a reputable bank.

The email is sent with the subject line “HELP PHILIPPINES”, and has been sent from a different address that the user is instructed to reply to.

Symantec has recommended the following precautions in order to avoid such scams:

  • Be extra vigilant while opening unsolicited emails
  • Verify the authenticity of the organisation to whom you are transferring donations
  • Do not respond to emails that ask for personal and confidential information
  • Updating anti-spam signatures regularly
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