The US Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning about an influx of scams in relation to the Boston Marathon explosion. The intense public interest in the event has created the groundwork for scammers looking to exploit consumers. Bogus images and videos are serving as bait for malware and/or viruses on Facebook and email inboxes. Even if the sender is familiar in any e-mails or Facebook comments, everyone should exercise caution and due diligence prior to clicking or following any links.
The US Department of Homeland Security warns that cyber criminals will take advantage of the public's desire for information about the event to push out malicious emails and other cyber scams. Clicking on any of the e-mails or links could cause key loggers, remote access tools or other possible malicious software to be downloaded on the user's computer. Users are advised to exercise caution in handling any e-mail with the subject line, attachments, or hyperlinks related to the explosions, even if it appears to originate from a trusted source. Phishing email campaigns are also circulating using subject lines related to the Boston Marathon explosions. Do not open unexpected attachments or click on links in suspicious emails, even if the email appears to be from someone you know.
Fake websites and social networking accounts have been set up to take advantage of those interested in learning more details about the explosions or looking to contribute to fundraising efforts.
For example, the Twitter account @_BostonMarathon was created shortly after the explosions took place. The account stated it would donate $1 for each retweet and was crafted to closely resemble the legitimate Boston Marathon Twitter account (@BostonMarathon). This account has since been suspended by Twitter; however, the likelihood that similar social media accounts will surface remains high.
The US Department of Homeland Security recommends that all persons interested in donating funds should go directly to established charities such as the American Red Cross.
Exercise caution when interacting with social media accounts that claim to represent the best interests of those involved in the incident, and directly visit established news sources rather than conducting general search engine queries, as it can be difficult to tell which search results may lead to scam sites.
The best way to stay safe online from these scams is to keep informed of the issue by visiting reputable mainstream internet sites such as the New York Times or CNN. As always, make sure you are running the most current, up to date anti-virus program on your home computers to monitor for any problems.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to one of our dedicated Customer Service Representatives at 1-800-NBT-BANK.