Avoiding Scams About Current Events

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One thing that always happens whenever something big happens in the news are the inevitable scams that follow. Even though the events happened just this past week, there are already charity scams that try to trick people into donating money to victims of the Boston Marathon attack and the fertilizer explosion in Texas. Here, scammers are preying on people’s sense of compassion and community to steal money or credit card numbers.

The same is true for whenever a major celebrity dies. Here, the scams are more about breaking news, sex tapes, scandals, never-before-seen videos, and more. Here, scammers are relying on people’s sense of curiosity, and try to trick people into installing malware on their own computers. An example might be “you need to update your video software before you can view this video”, which is actually malware.

Other examples of current event scams include major sports events (Olympics, World Cup Soccer), seasonal events like holidays, and periodic national events (scams about the IRS and failure to have paid your taxes are common).

Don’t fall for these kinds of scams! Don’t trust unsolicited emails about current events. If you want to donate money to victims or aid organizations, look up the groups on a search engine and go to their web site instead. If you want to read about gossip, go straight to the gossip web site, don’t click that link! If you get a worrisome email, look up the information first online to see if it is a scam, or go straight to the source. Don’t click links in unsolicited emails!


We cover this info and more in our Safer Web Browsing training module, more info can be found here.