As the international community coordinates its response to the deepening crisis in Syria, scammers have once again demonstrated their skill at using current, high-profile events to their advantage. We have previously covered these methods in regards to Egypt, Libya, and the Rugby World Cup.
We recently identified a scam message that claimed to be from The Red Cross. The message explains how the conflict is creating a humanitarian crisis and urges people to support The Red Cross and The Red Crescent.
Curiously, the email includes a link to the actual British Red Cross website, but urges that donations over £500 GBP ($775 USD) be sent through MoneyGram or Western Union money transfer services.
The British Red Cross does currently have an appeal for donations for victims of the conflict in Syria but it does not use these payment services.
Anyone considering supporting charities should be cautious and make sure that they are using the charity’s official website.
We have also seen other scams claiming to be from people in Syria, looking for help in moving money out of the country, ostensibly to protect their wealth or to start up a business. These scams promise a share of the sender's vast fortune and use the seriousness of the situation to try to solicit a prompt reply. Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is.