In the hours following yesterday’s explosions over 125 domain names have been registered that could potentially be used to disseminate false information, solicit fake fundraisers, and fake requests for donations. These domains contain words related to the tragedy such as, “boston”,”marathon”, “bombings”, “charity”, “fund”, “lawsuit”, “massacre”, “attack”, “news”, “info”, “victims”, etc..
Examples include: “bostonmarathonrelief.com” and “bostonmarathonvictimfund.com”
Historically, following a disaster criminals set up fake domain names and websites to trick users into giving donations though the money will never reach the victims. Other websites may try to trick users into giving up their personal information that the scammer will use to steal the users identity.
In addition, scammers will target social media to spread false information and requests for money. Shortly after the explosions the Twitter account @_BostonMarathon tweeted that it would donate $1 dollar for every re-tweet. This account has been disabled by Twitter but many others have risen to take its place.
Tips to stay safe:
- Only give money to reputable organizations such as the American Red Cross.
- When searching for updated news stay away from rumor sites and stick to trusted news sources.
- Be wary when asked for personal information through unsolicited communication.