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Scam alert: Cybercriminals target well-wishers and donors amid Hamas-Israel war

Cybercriminals are now taking advantage of the ongoing Hamas-Israeli war to scam well-wishers and those donating to the affected people.

They send fake emails asking for donations, pretending to be charity organizations.

They use emotional language to make people click on a fake website and give money.

These emails look real, but they’re not.

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According to Kaspersky, global cybersecurity and digital privacy company, to date, cybercriminals have disseminated over 500 scam emails and created fraudulent websites to expedite the money transfer process.

Kaspersky urges users to remain vigilant and take proactive steps to verify the recipients of their donations.

Fake charity scams frequently occur, often exploiting real disasters or emergencies.

“In these emails, scammers try to create multiple text variations to evade spam filters. For instance, they use various call-to-donate phrases like ‘we call to your compassion and benevolence’ or ‘we call to your empathy and generosity,’ and substitute words like ‘help’ with synonyms such as ‘support,’ ‘aid,’ etc. Besides, they alter links and sender addresses. Robust cybersecurity solutions guard against these tactics,” says Andrey Kovtun, a security expert at Kaspersky.

The links used in the emails lead to a scam website. This website provides users with context about the conflict, displays photos, and encourages them to make donations.

Fraudsters facilitate easy money transfers, offering options for various cryptocurrency transactions – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, and Litecoin.

According to Kaspersky, below are a few safety measure:

1. Check if the charity is registered and genuine by looking it up in a known database.

2. Donate directly through the charity’s official website; type the web address instead of clicking links.

3. Trust established organizations like United Nations relief agencies if you’re unsure about a charity.

4. Be cautious if strangers contact you directly for money, especially those affected by a crisis.

5. Be watchful for fake websites that may look real but have small mistakes in spelling or grammar.

6. Don’t assume a donation request on social media is real just because a friend liked or shared it; research the group first.

Israel has been launching airstrikes against Hamas in Gaza since Hamas launched terrorist attacks against Israel.

Israel’s military insists Hamas conceals itself in civilian areas and uses civilians as shields and that it is striking against Hamas.