FBI warns of possible scams capitalizing on Boston Marathon bomb - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

FBI warns of possible scams capitalizing on Boston Marathon bombings


The FBI is warning people that scammers may use the Boston Marathon bombings to capitalize on Americans' generosity and kindness.

The FBI says its Internet Crime Complaint Center has received tips that scammers may be using e-mail and social networking sites to promote fraudulent activities.

The FBI is aware of a spam e-mail with the subject line "Boston Marathon Explosion" and similar messages being circulated to lure potential victims to malicious software and other issues.

Spam e-mails and Web sites to which they are linked use a variety of ways to trick a user into taking actions that put the user's computer at risk for infection.

The FBI says common techniques include links to compromised web sites and pop-up messages prompting users to download software to view pictures, videos or other files.

FBI agents are aware that an account on a popular social media service using the Boston Marathon name and official logo was created soon after the explosions. The postings said that $1 would be donated to the Boston Marathon victims for every message other users sent to the account. Though the account was suspended by the social media service, others may use similar methods to commit fraud.

Investigators say numerous questionable web domains were registered within hours of the Boston Marathon explosions. Though the intentions of the registrants are unknown, domains have emerged following other disasters for scams.

People are warned to use reasonable caution and when using e-mail and social networking Web sites.

Based on experiences from previous times of tragedy, the FBI says it is reasonable to believe that criminals will continue to exploit tragic events to solicit fraudulent donations or personal information.

The FBI has some suggestions for preventing exposure to cyber criminals:

  • Do not agree to download software to view content. Messages may contain pictures, videos, and other attachments designed to infect your computer with malware.
  • Do not follow a link you receive via e-mail to go to a web site. Links appearing as legitimate sites (example: fbi.gov), could be hyperlinked to direct victims to another web site when clicked. These sites may be designed to infect your computer with malware or solicit personal information.
  • Verify the existence and legitimacy of organizations by conducting research and visiting official web sites. Be skeptical of charity names similar to but not exactly the same as reputable charities.
  • Do not allow others to make donations on your behalf. Donation-themed messages may also contain links to web sites designed to solicit personal information, which can be routed to a cyber criminal.
  • Make donations securely by using a debit/credit card or write a check made out to the specific charity. Be wary of making donations via money transfer services; legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations using this method of payment.
For more information, or to file a complaint,  go to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center web site.

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