The Big Business of Spam: Scammers once again, looking to capitalize on a tragic natural disaster

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Tragic events such as the 7.8 earthquake that hit Nepal last week has brought a tremendous outpouring of help from countries all over the world. Unfortunately, it has also been used as a ploy to try and dupe users into falling for monetary scams.

Spammers looking to capitalize on the best intentions of others have begun their campaign of deception by following a well-known scam known as “419,” a scam that promises a victim a significant amount of money, but only after a payment has been made to ‘verify the identity' of a would be victim. Online versions of the scam originate primarily in the United States, the United Kingdom and Nigeria. The number “419” refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud.


Once the information is given, the next steps of collecting the relief fund are then sent. The potential victim is instructed to send a wire transfer fee via Western Union to receive the funds that have been promised to them. Sadly, this isn’t the case and victims are left with their money and sensitive data in the hands of scammers.

The FBI has set up a phone number (866) 720-5721 to report any such instances of this and more information regarding these types of attacks as well as good information to stay safe can additionally be found here:

This is yet another example of how scammers are building a big business around the use of various spam techniques. Yesterday we shared with you a scam in which spammers are using the recent Bruce Jenner interview as a way to drive users to potentially malicious websites that sell weight loss drugs. As always, we recommend that no unsolicited donations be made or sensitive information be shared online with persons that are not familiar. As a natural rule of thumb, it’s probably best to keep in mind, that if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. For more in this Barracuda Labs blog series, The Big Business of Spam, please visit:

For more education on how to keep safe from these types of emails, please visit:

Barracuda Central

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