It’s a sad reality that cyber-criminals eagerly exploit tragic circumstances in order to take advantage of and steal from new targets. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a number of new scams have cropped up, including:
- An IRS-themed phishing scam that instructs the receiver to download an FBI questionnaire (once the target clicks the link, their computer is infected with ransomware)
- Facebook pages and tweets with links to fake charity websites
- Scam emails seeking donations to #HurricaneHarvey Relief Funds (any donations made are simply kept by the cybercriminal who sent the email)
Keep the following in mind if and when you encounter a potential cyber scam:
- The IRS will NEVER use email, text messages, or social media to contact you about personal tax issues. If you receive or fall victim to an IRS-themed scam, be sure to report it to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Victims of ransomware schemes should never pay a ransom, as this further encourages the criminals, and often they refuse to provide the decryption key even after a ransom is paid. Rather, victims should immediately report any ransomware attempt or attack to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.IC3.gov).
- If you desire to make a donation in support of the victims of Hurricane Harvey, go directly to the website of the charity of your choice in order to do so.
- Always think before you click on any links in emails or texts you receive.