Is Your Donation Enriching a Cyber Criminals?
The best thing we can do for ourselves is to help others. Then we feel fulfilled, useful, and able to contribute to making someone's life better because we did our best to help as much as we could. And we can all do a lot, we're just not aware of our power, so we don't use it enough. We need to get out of thinking only about ourselves and reach out to someone else who needs help.
During the pandemic, we were forced to help our loved ones, so we were awakened to an even greater desire to help others to survive. Today in a global crisis, many people are in desperate need of basic supplies and transportation, everywhere in the world. However, there are those who profited, and those who are grateful that their workplaces resisted the temptation of the world crisis, so they want to do a good deed and donate money.
Donation websites seem to have made it easier to support cybercrime. How ?! Despite the disbelief, the speed with which these websites appeared raised questions: which sites are real and which are scams trying to take advantage of people's goodwill?
Within hours of the first breaking news in the media, fake websites appeared claiming to raise funds to help the affected area. They looked real, had photos from the scene, of the victims, (taken from news sites) and had links to accept donations. But they were either from organizations no one had heard of or from seemingly legitimate organizations but with strange web addresses. Worse, due to the global shutdown of the Global Domain Naming System's "Voice" function (in response to the interpretation of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR) it was impossible to find out which entity actually registered the URL. Bad actors can use similar tactics to take advantage of those trying to help sick children, vulnerable people, etc.
How to make sure donation pages are legitimate?
Trusted sources, such as newspapers and television stations, will usually identify legitimate organizations or websites that accept donations and distribute those funds appropriately. In addition, other well-known charities, such as the Red Cross, are already helping and have information on how donations can be made. If you decide to donate, keep in mind the following red flags to watch out for. If you see any of these when looking at an attachment site, think twice (or more) about trusting it.
Strange web addresses: Web addresses that do not clearly reflect the name of the charity they purport to represent are suspicious. Weird ways to contribute: Any site that suggests the best way to help is to buy a gift card or pre-paid credit card and transfer the numbers from those cards to charity. Charities don't work this way. Even if a site claims to accept credit card payments, their goal may be to gain access to your credit card information. Only trust organizations you know or have been vetted by organizations you trust. Furthermore, avoid using a debit card, as it can be used to wipe out your entire bank account. Credit cards often have fraud guarantees from the issuing bank to protect you.
If you're thinking about donating, take a moment to ensure that your contribution is going to a reputable source and that it will ultimately end up where you intended and not in the hands of a cybercriminal. If you have been a victim of cybercrime, it is certainly the right time to talk. Our elite cyber risk leaders are uniquely positioned to provide end-to-end investigation services worldwide. For immediate assistance with a cyber incident, contact us via one of our 24/7 cyber incident hotlines.
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