Major disasters seem to bring out the best in some people and the worst from scammers. After every large news event or natural disaster we see the associated scams. The example below is very simple but shows predators are out there waiting for any opportunity to pounce. This message originated from Poland and includes multiple methods of soliciting for money - Paypal, Zelle, Square's Cash App, and a Wells Fargo account. The Zelle number indicates Georgia area code and the Wells Fargo swift code is a San Francisco, CA branch.
The recipients address was a legitimate one the scammer could simply find by scraping websites for email addresses, we found it with a browser search. While the message intends to tug at heartstrings by using the loss of their building and pets for help, it is not legitimate and recipients should not respond to messages such as these. If you are interested in donating to help out victims, please see our advice below this message example.
Donation & Safety TipsNavigate directly to the legitimate sites or charities you may consider donating to. Type in the address manually instead of clicking links.If you aren't sure about a charity, research them first using a third-party watchdog (give.org, charitywatch.org, guidestar.org, or charitynavigator.org).Be extremely suspicious of any attachment or link you may receive via email. Contact the sender directly (not via email) if there is any question. It's possible their account is compromised and you would be emailing back to the malicious actor in their account.Utilize checks and credit cards for donations directly to the charity itself, not an individual and avoid cash if possible. This creates a paper trail for tax deductions as well.Do not give out personal information such as drivers license information, social security number, birth dates, mother's maiden name, etc. This information is used by malicious actors for social engineering their way further into your accounts or ID theft.If you are a customer we will happily investigate any suspicious messages or attachments for you, please contact our support team.
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