It’s an unfortunate reality that in the wake of a tragedy the scum of the earth rise up to show their true colors. Scammers exploit major news tragedies in an effort to make money from real donations or fake charities.
In the days following the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 a large number of scam charities and malicious pages have popped up all over social networks. These scams include fake Facebook pages in honor of the deceased. The pages request donations to be made in their honor.
Other web sites claim to have video footage of the plane crashing. In one instance the claimed video was posted on the memorial page for one of the victims. Clicking the link leads to a pornographic web site which then attempts to load malware onto the viewers computer.
Through Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, users have been posting exaggerated headlines related to the incident along with links that lead to bogus web sites designed to “phish” users personal information including financial information and passwords.
If you’re looking for a way to give, the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission both have tips and advice specific to this tragedy.
Here are some highlights from the FTC:
- Donate to charities you know and trust. You want to find a charity with a proven track record with dealing with these disasters.
- Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events. Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
- Don’t give out personal or financial information — including your credit card or bank account number — unless you know the charity is reputable.
- Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting the National Association of State Charity Officials.
Your best bet is to think before you click. If your browser offers you a preview of the link when you hover over it, take the time to let it load before proceeding. When in doubt- don’t click and don’t share links!
Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com
You can purchase Josh’s book “Cyberbullying: Perpetrators, Bystanders & Victims” on Amazon! Available in paperback or for Kindle.