Scams Emerge as Typhoon Haiyan Strikes the Philippines

Contributor: Vijay Thawre

Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest recorded tropical cyclone struck the Philippines this week, leaving behind mass destruction to life and property. With more than 10,000 dead, call for help has been raised by several NGOs and organizations worldwide. Donation requests are posted on different social networks including some of the popular websites. Meanwhile, spammers have started taking advantage of the situation by sending mails containing fake donation requests.

The following sheds light on the ongoing scam of sending fake donation requests.

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Figure 1. Philippines Typhoon ‘ Haiyan’ scam email

In the above figure, the spammer has sent an email which seems perfectly fine at first glance, but when you take a closer look, you will notice the catch. The email is sent from a different email ID with the subject line ‘HELP PHILIPPINES ‘.

The spammer disguises himself as a professional anchor and reporter for a reputed News Channel. The organization seems to be helping impacted victims from the affected parts of the Philippines. If you noticed, the spammer speaks about transferring some funds through a reputed bank and for the same cause. He provides another email ID which is created via free email service provider for further correspondence. The overall feel and the content of the email are presented in a very genuine and polite manner, so that no one notices that this is an actual scam.

Symantec recommends the following precautions:

1) Be extra vigilant while opening such unsolicited emails.

2) Verify authenticity of the organization to whom you are transferring the funds.

3) Do not respond to emails that demand for your personal and confidential information .

Please update anti-spam signatures regularly. Symantec is on the lookout for new tricks which include phishing attacks, virus, social networking attacks etc related to Typhoon ‘Haiyan’. We will continue to investigate such attacks to ensure that the best possible protection is in place and keep you posted regularly.

Our deepest sympathies go out to the families who lost their dear ones in this natural disaster. Please reach out to the storm victims through legitimate and secure channels.

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