Online scams and frauds have increased in the past few days, which are aimed at fooling people into making donations for the victims of the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. If you get an e-mail asking to donate money for people who have been affected by the Earthquake, it is advised to check the credentials of the sender. The e-mail could be spam or a phishing attack intended to steal confidential personal and financial information such as bank account details, debit/credit card numbers, username, password, etc. Warnings have been issued by the FBI regarding scammers who are posing as officials of charitable organizations, which are actually fake.

The following is a sample phishing e-mail which is an online scam:

While clicking on the website of a charity, ensure that the page is authentic as it could be a copy of a genuine site. Many malicious websites have also reportedly come up with words such as Japan Earthquake in the URL. Social networking websites such as Facebook are also being used by hackers to spread online scams. A link of a video of the Tsunami is being spammed on Facebook. Clicking on the link does not open a video, rather it leads users to like a malicious webpage.

You can take precautionary measures to protect your computer from online scams, frauds, phishing, spam and hacking. Online users should not open unsolicited e-mails or download attachments in such mails. It is suggested that people should not make online transactions for donations through links in e-mails. Use an updated web browser which offers protection against malicious websites and phishing.