June 1 marks the official start of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warns users to remain on alert for malicious cyber activity targeting potential disaster victims and charitable donors following a hurricane. Fraudulent emails—often containing malicious links or attachments—are common after major natural disasters. Exercise caution in handling emails with hurricane-related subject lines, attachments, or hyperlinks. In addition, be wary of social media pleas, texts, or door-to-door solicitations relating to severe weather events.
To avoid becoming victims of malicious activity, users and administrators should review the following resources and take preventative measures.
- Staying Alert to Disaster-related Scams
- Before Giving to a Charity
- Staying Safe on Social Networking Sites
- Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks
- Using Caution with Email Attachments
If you believe you have been a victim of cybercrime, file a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov.
Find the press release here.
Four common ways cyber criminals try to profit from natural disasters include:
- Fake Rental Listings
If your home is damaged by a natural disaster, you’ll most likely be looking for a temporary place to live. When searching for a rental: make sure you’ve seen the place you’re renting before handing over a deposit; make sure you meet the person you’re renting from; and don’t disclose any personal information or wire any money over the internet.
- Fake Contractors
If your home or business needs repairs after a storm, chances are you’ll be on Google or Facebook searching for a contractor. When selecting a contractor: get a recommendation from someone you trust; check for a license and proof of insurance; don’t hand over the full payment upfront.
- Fake Charities
When a natural disaster hits, you’ll probably be searching for a way to help your neighbors and community. Before you blindly give money to a charity, make sure you do your research! If an organization reaches out to you – vet them. Look up their website, call and speak with an employee, learn about their history, and confirm it’s legitimacy.
Beware of fake news stories and photos. When it comes to the internet and social media, seeing is not believing.
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