Alert for Hurricane Gustav online fraud

Reuters Pictures/Daylife

To date, more than 280 Internet domain names have been registered relating to Hurricane Gustav, some of them using words like “charity,” “relief,” and “support.” The U of Alabama – Birmingham [UAB] computer forensic team is watching these domains to detect any signs of fraudulent use. UAB’s Spam Data Mine collects millions of email messages used to provide investigators with spam intelligence and determine new attack methods.

“In past disasters, domain names have been used to lure the charitable into donating funds to fraudulent sites,” said Gary Warner, UAB’s Director of Computer Forensics. “As of this morning, no fraudulent usage has been detected, but consumers need to be on their guard.”

“While many new charities may pop up specifically related to the disaster only donate to well-established charities like Red,” Warner said. “Avoid making donations through click buttons on newly established Web sites.”

I can’t agree more. Kudos to these folks at the U of Alabama!

One thought on “Alert for Hurricane Gustav online fraud

  1. K B says:

    As someone who has considerable experience managing restricted funds in nonprofit orgs, I still always advised people that, if they know someone personally who is in need, it is better to put the money directly in the person’s hands than to pass it through a third party– any third party.

    However, if you don’t know someone personally, then by all means consider organizations like the Red Cross. Of course, many will disagree with my advice, and that’s o.k. The orgs for whom I managed funds often didn’t appreciate my views about this either. :]

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