Hurricane Scams – Look Out for Scams After Natural Disasters
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a warning to citizens to be vigilant for hurricane themed scams following natural disasters. Malicious cyber activity targeting potential disaster victims and charitable donors following every hurricane, major tornado, flood, or weather evet.
June 1 is the first day of meteorological summer and the official start the Atlantic hurricane season. After each storm, fraudulent emails are sent en masse by unscrupulous hackers looking to prey upon people cleaning up after disasters and those trying to help. The emails can contain malicious links or ask for donations to supposedly help victims.
Scammers take advantage of natural disasters, national or global tragedies, and highly public tragedies to launch their scams against suffering victims and people who want to help them. Scams include phone calls, phishing emails, spoof websites designed to look like legitimate charities, and a variety of other scamming tactics. Their tactics remain the same. Scammers retool websites and rewrite emails to contain imagery and text related to the latest hurricane, natural disaster, or tragedy . All of this is designed to separate would be donors from their money.
No one is immune from scammers looking to steal money. Elderly are amongst the most vulnerable segments of population. Scammers prey upon retirees, hoping to separate them from their retirement nest egg.
Hurricane scams makes the rounds after every storm. The DHS advisory states, “Exercise caution in handling emails with hurricane-related subject lines, attachments, or hyperlinks. In addition, be wary of social media pleas, texts, or door-to-door solicitations relating to severe weather events.”
How Do I Protect Myself from Scams?
After storms, watch out for a new wave of storm related scams. Fraudulent emails will contain hurricane related themes. read the article Donating Through an Online Giving Portal, available at FTC.gov/Charity
- Search online for the cause you care about and want to donate to — like “hurricane relief”
- Check out the charity’s website
- Review the charity’s rating on Charity Navigator or GuideStar
- Never click on links in emails which ask for donations – visit the charity’s website directly