The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (USCERT), a division of Homeland Security, today (4/17/2013) released a warning to all Americans to beware of malicious actors, scammers, spammers, and other criminals attempting to solicit money in response to the bombing attach at the Boston marathon. Historically, these criminals have attempted to capitalize on major news events by registering fake domain names related to the events. Their goal is to trick you into sending money to them while you believe you are assisting the victims of this tragedy.
In addition to fake domains, malicious actors may also create fake social media accounts with similar criminal intent. For example, Twitter Account @_BostonMarathon was created within hours of the bombing place. The persons creating this account stated they would donate $1.00 to the victims for each retweet. The actual Boston Marathon Twitter Account is @BostonMarathon. The fake Twitter Account has since been suspended, but the possibility that similar social media accounts will surface remains high.
USCERT recommends that all persons looking to donate money in support of those affected by this event rely on official disaster relief and fundraising charities with which you are familiar. Any email you receive purporting to show photographs of the bombing or victims may be an attempt to introduce malware into your system. Never click on a link sent to you about a tragedy. If you wish too learn more it is safest to go to your regular trusted news sources rather than conduct general search engine inquiries.
If you have any questions regarding a charitable solicitation related to the Boston Marathon Bombing, please contact the Fraud Prevention Taskforce Hotline at 314-612-1412 before responding.