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Scams Exploiting Boston Marathon Explosion

Original release date: April 17, 2013 | Last revised: April 18, 2013

Malicious actors are exploiting the April 15 explosions at the Boston Marathon in attempts to collect money intended for charities and to spread malicious code. Fake websites and social networking accounts have been set up to take advantage of those interested in learning more details about the explosions or looking to contribute to fundraising efforts.              

For example, the Twitter account @_BostonMarathon was created shortly after the explosions took place. The account stated it would donate $1 for each retweet and was crafted to closely resemble the legitimate Boston Marathon Twitter account (@BostonMarathon). This account has since been suspended by Twitter; however, the likelihood that similar social media accounts will surface remains high.

Phishing email campaigns are also circulating using subject lines related to the Boston Marathon explosions. Do not open unexpected attachments or click on links in suspicious emails, even if the email appears to be from someone you know.

US-CERT recommends that all persons interested in donating funds should go directly to established charities. Exercise caution when interacting with social media accounts that claim to represent the best interests of those involved in the incident, and directly visit established news sources rather than conducting general search engine queries, as it can be difficult to tell which search results may lead to scam sites.

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