Hackers have stooped to a new low as they attempt to exploit the devastating earthquake in Turkey that has claimed the lives of over 20,000 people and is being termed as one of the deadliest in 80 years.
As numerous individuals in Turkey and nations around struggle post the earthquake, hackers are devising ways to make the most of the tragedy. In this article, The Cyber Express explains how the hackers are utilizing human emotions to manipulate the goodwill and exploiting the earthquake for financial gains.
Turkey relief donation scams: Who are the main culprits?
In the wake of the Turkish earthquake, scammers swiftly seized the opportunity to exploit the situation. False aid groups emerged online soon after the disaster, with some using extremely logical tactics to lure victims.
In these campaigns, one such tactic involved a fraudulent email campaign posed as the Wladimir Charity Foundation and aimed to receive cryptocurrency donations for displaced families and children within just 24 hours of the earthquake.
Within the same timeframe, more scams emerged, and in some cases, perpetrators deposited $500 into a PayPal account to deceive victims on Twitter, despite PayPal having no presence in Turkey since 2016.
According to news reports, over 150 deceptive web pages have been discovered that claimed to have been associated with the Turkish earthquake tragedy.
These fraudulent sites typically feature images of vulnerable children and urge visitors to donate via QR codes, TWINT, PayPal, or other online payment channels. Having various aliases and being rebranded with different names, these hacker/scammer groups focus on aiding earthquake victims while their primary intent is to steal money from donors and supporters.
Turkey relief donation scams: More predicted
The initial instance is just the tip of the iceberg, and it’s only a matter of time before more scammers, hackers, and fraudsters openly target victims of natural disasters and those who are providing a helping hand to the distressed.
Fraudsters consistently seek to capitalize on people’s vulnerability and emotions amid natural calamities, taking advantage of online communities’ compassion to steal personal data and money. Though these malicious activities aren’t new, they can successfully dupe unwary and sympathetic individuals.
Users and those aiming to provide financial relief to the victims via donations are advised to remain watchful and check twice before making any charitable donations on the internet.
One of the safest ways to avoid paying scammers is to look out for poorly made websites and check SSL certifications and domain age to verify the website. Those wanting to help should research authorized charity organizations and contact them directly through official channels.
Turkey relief donation scams: What you can do?
Scams like these have led to a loss of trust in charity organizations and decreased the desire to contribute to humanitarian causes.
The scammers’ activities are not limited to Turkey and Syria, but they have expanded their operations to target the international community. One of the earliest phishing attacks detected was a fake charity organization identified by Bitdefender.
Their analysis showed that phishing emails targeted South Korea the most, accounting for 49% of the attacks, followed by Vietnam at 19% and the US and India at 7% each.
In addition, fraudsters are impersonating legitimate humanitarian aid organizations such as UNICEF to steal money from crypto wallets.
In times like these, it is crucial to stay vigilant, look at things logically. Here is a quick guide on avoiding scammers and contributing to relief donations to natural disaster-torn countries.
How to donate safely?
Donating to countries affected by natural disasters can be a valuable way to support relief efforts and help those affected by the disaster. Your donation can help provide essential resources such as food, water, shelter, medical aid, and other critical supplies.
However, it’s crucial to ensure that you donate to reputable and established organizations with experience in disaster relief efforts and that your donation is used effectively and efficiently to support those in need.
By doing your research, following the tips mentioned above, and donating to well-established organizations, you can help ensure that your donation will positively impact those affected by the natural disaster.
Here are 5 ways to verify and donate without losing money to scammers.
Donate to reputable organizations
To ensure that your donation reaches the people affected by a natural disaster, it is crucial to conduct thorough research and choose well-established and reliable organizations with a proven history of disaster relief work.
Confirming that the organization is registered with the relevant authorities and holds a legitimate tax-exempt status is important.
Avoid giving personal information
Protecting your personal information while donating to natural disaster relief efforts is essential. Therefore, it’s important to refrain from sharing sensitive information such as social security numbers, credit card details, or bank account information with individuals or organizations that contact you requesting donations.
Instead, only donate through verified payment channels or the organization’s official website to ensure your donation is safe and secure. By being cautious with your personal information, you can avoid falling victim to scammers and help support those affected by natural disasters.
Be wary of unsolicited requests
When making a donation to a relief fund, it’s essential to be vigilant of unsolicited phone calls, emails, or messages on social media that request donations. These requests may come from unverified third-party fundraisers or scammers who seek to take advantage of your generosity.
To avoid falling prey to such fraudulent activities, donating directly to the organization’s official website or through their verified payment channels should be preferred. By doing so, you can ensure that your donation is safely and securely processed, and it will go towards helping those affected by the natural disaster.
Monitor your bank statements
It’s crucial to stay vigilant when monitoring your bank statements after donating to natural disaster relief efforts. This will help you verify that you have been charged the correct amount for your donation and that no additional unauthorized charges have been made.
Additionally, it’s essential to understand how the organization you donated to will utilize your personal information and whether they will share it with any third parties.
Doing so can ensure that your donation is being used in the intended manner and that your personal information is handled responsibly. These steps will help you support disaster relief efforts while protecting yourself from fraud and unauthorized charges.
Spread the word
One way to contribute to natural disaster relief efforts is to spread awareness of legitimate and trustworthy donation opportunities. By sharing information about reputable organizations and verified donation channels, you can help ensure that your friends and family make safe and effective donations.
However, it’s crucial to avoid sharing or promoting suspicious requests or scams that may take advantage of people’s willingness to help.
By doing so, you can help prevent individuals from falling prey to fraudulent activities and ensure that their contributions support those affected by the disaster.