Often social networks are used to post news with request to help abandoned animals, sick children and others who may or may not require help. Heart-wrenching stories and sad details often convince people to transfer money to bank accounts of supposed victims. Unfortunately, fraudsters often hide under the guise of charity efforts to steal money by exploiting people’s sympathy.
Kaspersky Lab offers advice on how such fraudsters can be identified and what should be done with fake charity posts.
Experts explain that fraudsters can be easily identified using their bank account details. «It’s not hard for fraudsters to come up with tearful stories and create entire websites with photos to fool people. However, they often use one and the same bank account in all of their schemes. With that, before transferring money, take some time to analyse bank account details,» – say Kaspersky Lab experts.
In order to do this, copy and paste bank account details in a search engine – there are many different forums and communities in the world that publish lists of bank accounts used by fraudsters, experts share their experience.
If a charity campaign uses photos, analyse them. Kaspersky Lab experts say one and the same photos are often used by fraudsters time and time again every year. Often these photos depict cats and dogs who were ‘abandoned or poorly treated by bad owners’. Often fraudsters add a telephone number below photos, saying that it is free and that people can call at any time if they wish to pick up the poor animal. Unfortunately, these ‘free’ telephone calls suck money from your phone during the call. And this is not the only trick.
«Criminals have come up with a perfectly functioning scheme: posts with requests to help spread quickly on social networks. Many donate money and bring in others to ‘help those in need’. People who are unable to help financially ask others to ‘spread the word’. People trust one another and often do not bother checking the information,» – says Kaspersky Lab senior content analyst Nadezhda Demidova.
«This is why we urge people to check information about charity events before deciding to donate. Do it diligently and you will avoid becoming an indirect accomplice. You will also prevent your friends from losing money,» – adds Demidova.
«Fraudsters bet on users’ immediate reaction, hoping they will spread the word further without giving it a second thought. A good charity campaign’s activity is transparent: they regularly publish updates and news on their website, representatives are always ready to answer questions and prior to gathering funds experts carry out a careful examination to make sure which form of help will be more beneficial for whatever cause the charity campaign is organized for. If you truly wish to help, choose projects of trusted charity organizations,» – explains member of the board of Latvian charity organization ‘Butterfly effect’ Olga Kazaka.
If residents foul play is noticed during an alleged charity event, Kaspersky Lab recommends spreading information about such events on the internet, so that people would have a chance to find out whether or not there are criminals hiding behind ‘noble goals’.