February 4, 2005
by Kevin Caruso
Another tsunami relief scam website has been shut down.
The scammers used source code (which is used to design web pages) from a previous version of the Disasters Emergency Committee's (DEC) website to produce a legitimate looking, but completely fake, "tsunami charity" website; DEC is a reputable disaster relief charity based in the U.K.
The scammers then registered a domain name similar to the legitimate charity’s domain name (similar to “DEC.org.uk”).
Lastly, they sent out innumerable fake tsunami relief e-mails with “Urgent Tsunami Earthquake Appeal” in the subject line.
The e-mails included a link to the scammer’s site, and, unfortunately, many people sent money and gave personal and financial information to the criminals via the site thinking that they were actually donating to DEC.
DEC informed authorities as soon as they became aware of the scammer’s site. The Computer Crime Unit at Scotland Yard worked with Internet service providers and domain name registrars to shut the site down and take possession of the domain name.
BBC news, which carefully followed the story, was unable to find the scammers because none of the e-mail addresses on the site were functional, and the contact information for the domain name ownership was false.
E-mail and website scams began on December 26, 2004, the day the tsunami struck, and have continued unabated since.
If you receive an e-mail soliciting funds for tsunami relief – DO NOT RESPOND.
And please do not click on any links in those e-mails.
If you would like to donate to a tsunami relief charity, you will find a list of the top charities, information on how to evaluate them, and additional information on avoiding scammers on the home page of this website. Please click below to go there now:
Reputable Tsunami Relief Charities