Internet scammers take advantage of Japanese disaster

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David Michmerhuizen & Luis Chapetti – Security Researchers, Barracuda Labs

The whole world is watching the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami with sadness and concern.

Unfortunately, Internet scammers will take try to take advantage of that concern any way they can.  The spam traps at Barracuda Labs have already started to receive emails that trade on the disaster.
A few purveyors of 419 spam have reworded their standard pitch

These deals wind up with you sending money to the scammers, not receiving it.   Everyone should recognize these by now.

More common are false requests for charitable donations.   One poses as a plea from Humanitarian Care Japan, a real organization

However, if you reply to this email you'll be responding to a free webmail account.

A reputable charity will have their own email domain and website.

Another of these emails poses as a plea from the Salvation Army.

Unfortunately,  the reply-to address is just another free webmail account

The email address in the text is also a free webmail account.   A valid solicitation from the Salvation Army would send mail to their own domain.  Even more likely it would invite you to visit their own website and make the donation there.

We recommend that you never make charitable donations on the spur of the moment in response to mass emailings.   Research the charity you intend to donate to and be sure to use a safe and protected donation method.


Barracuda Networks customers using the Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall protected from these spam mailings.

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