The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released an alert on email scams that cite the recent earthquakes in Ecuador and Japan. The scam emails may contain links or attachments that direct users to phishing or malware-infected websites. Donation requests from fraudulent charitable organizations commonly appear after major natural disasters.
US-CERT encourages users to take the following measures to protect themselves:
- Review the FTC alert and their information on Charity Scams.
- Do not follow unsolicited web links or attachments in email messages.
- Keep antivirus and other computer software up-to-date.
- Check this Better Business Bureau (BBB) list for Ecuador Earthquake Relief before making any donations to this cause.
- Verify the legitimacy of any email solicitation by contacting the organization directly through a trusted contact number. You can find trusted contact information for many charities on the BBB’s National Charity Report Index.
- Refer to Security Tip ST04-014 – Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks – for more information on social engineering attacks.