With the world’s attention focused on the recent shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 17 over the Ukraine, it was inevitable that identity thieves and scammers would soon be exploiting this event toward their own criminal goals and that is just what is already happening. There are a variety of scams that have sprung up that are using the shooting down of the airplane as a hook to scam members of the public. One scam involves phony charities that are asking for donations for the benefit of the victims of the missile attack only to steal all of the donations. Another scam involves emails, text messages or communications on social media, such as Facebook that promise startling video of the event. One message reads “Video Camera Caught the moment plane MH17 Crash over Ukraine. Watch here the video of Crash.” If your curiosity gets the better of you and you click on the link to view the video, you may unwittingly download a keystroke logging malware program that will steal all of your personal information from your computer and make you a victim of identity theft.
You should never give to a charity until you have confirmed that it is legitimate. Go to www.charitynavigator.org where you can not only find out whether or not the charity is legitimate, but also how much of your donation goes toward charitable purposes and how much goes to administrative costs and salaries.
As I always warn you, you should never click on any link in any email, text message, social media or other communication unless you are absolutely sure that it is legitimate. In this case, the particular language that I reported above that is used to lure people to download malware is written in broken English and could be an indication that the source is a foreign scammer or identity thief. If you must search for such video, stay with legitimate new sources such as CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox or other sources that can be trusted.