While rescuers are still working through rubble in a desperate race to find survivors in devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, one security researcher is worried about how scammers may take advantage of the disaster.
Johannes Ullrich, dean of research at the SANS Technology Institute, believes that donation scams and even malware attacks may be on the way.
“Sadly, experience teaches us that disasters like this will often be abused,” Ullrich wrote in a blog entry overnight. “The most common scam involves fake donation websites. But you may also see malware disguised as a video or images from the affected region.”
However, Ulrich has some advice to keep scammers at bay. Top of the list is to stay away from charities you’ve not heard of. If you know people in Turkey and Syria, they may be the best sources for finding out how you can help.
Scammers may well try to reach out to people from Turkey or Syria, using scam emails or phone calls to ask for money on behalf of friends and relatives.
Social media contacts should also be scrutinised.
Lastly, scammers will be taking advantage of people with the best of intentions, googling for a way to help. Be careful of any results you find this way. “At this point, I have not seen any active scams,” Ullrich says. “The unpredictability of earthquakes results in a lag between the event and the scam. We are monitoring respective scams, so please let us know if there is something you come across.
Pertinently, several Facebook page admins in Kashmir have started asking for donations for the earthquake victims in turkey and Syria, Claiming that they have received e-mails from the two affected countries asking for donations.
One such post is in circulation since yesterday, shared by thousands of Facebook users for the maximum reach. However, certain tech-savvy youth have questioned the admin and have requested him to upload the copy of the email he has received either from turkey or Syria.