Internet Users May Become Victim to Phishing While Donating to Tsunami Disaster

By: Venton Blandin
By: Venton Blandin

With the number of fatalities soaring in the tsunami disaster, and charities continuing to ask for donations, the number of scams is also on the rise, through the Internet.

Phishing, as online scams are commonly known, has seen an increase in recent years.

Naturally, people want to help others during a tragedy such as the one over in Asia, but in times like these, those generous people need to understand they could become a victim themselves.

Phishing has become a powerful online threat over the past two years by merging spam e-mail with slick websites that trick consumers into giving out bank accounts, passwords, and other sensitive information. The Better Business Bureau of Virginia says that internet companies along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission, and U.S, Postal Service are cracking down on those scam artists who lurk on internet users by blending their message into those of legitimate businesses.

To spot a con-artist, the Bureau says you should know what to look for.

  • Con-artists like to blend in like to blend in because they know being themselves hurts business.

  • Con-artists like to dress for success, i.e. having a mailing address under some other prestigious sounding address.

  • Con-artists are fair weather friends, i.e. they take a personal interest in you right from the beginning.

To avoid becoming a victim, the Bureau says it's as easy as doing your homework:

  • You should contact your local securities regulator to see if the charity is registered.

  • You should also ask the same office about the charity's history regarding legal action.

  • You should contact the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the charity.

You can contact the Better Business Bureau by logging onto or calling (703) 276-0100.

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