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Avoiding Holiday Scams-December 2017 Newsletter
December 2017 Volume 12 Issue 12 From the desk of Thomas F. Duffy, MS-ISAC Chair
Post Date:12/21/2017 11:33 AM
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Avoiding Holiday Scams
December 2017 Volume 12 Issue 12
From the desk of Thomas F. Duffy, MS-ISAC Chair
The holiday season is a great time to make charitable gifts to support the causes you care about, and charities often run end-of-year fundraising campaigns. However, criminals take advantage of this fact and run scams and frauds of their own to fool consumers into giving them money instead. Below are some common scams and frauds used by cybercriminals and some tips on how to avoid them. If you can spot these seasonal tricks, you are more likely to ensure your donation goes where you intend it to go.
Fake Charity Websites
One of the most convincing ways for cybercriminals to exploit charitable giving is by creating convincing charity websites. These websites are in fact fraudulent and may copy an existing charity’s site or use the charity’s name and branding. While few techniques are foolproof for detecting fake or malicious websites, try to follow these recommendations:
Whenever possible, browse directly to the charity by entering the charity’s URL directly into your browser’s address bar.
If you are not sure of the charity’s URL, an Internet search can help, but instead of automatically clicking on the first link, look at the top few links. If the top link is what you want, great, but if you see several very similar links this could indicate one of them is a potentially fraudulent website.
Carefully study the website’s URL for typos, such as two “v” characters in place of a “w” or an “i” instead of an “l.” If you’re not sure about a potential typo, try changing to all capitals or a different font.
Fraudulent charity websites frequently use domain names and email addresses that sound legitimate. You can do a little research into what the correct domain name and email address should be by looking into the organization using resources recommended by the Federal Trade Commission in their charity guide, or through resources like GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and Charity Watch.