Phishing for Charity Dollars

mercy-corp-fraud.jpgWho hasn’t donated money or thought of donating money to the tsunami survivors in the countries surrounding the Indian Ocean? A few days ago I started hearing about fraudulent charity pleas and then I received one.

This story has a unique twist.

The email came to my Gmail account. How is this account already on spam lists? That’s unreal.

It purported to be from Mercy Corp, a charity I had never heard of, but one I believe exists and is a legitimate “good guy.” I’ve attached the text from the message to the bottom of this entry, should you want to look. It’s a plea that’s tough to resist.

Of course it’s bogus. This is a phishing scam, someone using the name and the look of a legitimate organization to gain your trust.

Normally you’re on your own to figure this out, that’s why phishing scams are tough to stop. But there’s a difference here. The ‘phishers’ link back to legitimate Mercy Corp graphics. As soon as Mercy Corp found out, they changed the graphic making it obvious what’s going on.

Phishing still stinks. However, we now know someone at Mercy Corp is very clever.

A catastrophic 9 magnitude earthquake – the largest earthquake in over 40 years – has destroyed much of Southeast Asia, spawning tsunamis that have severely flooded coastal areas. Estimates place the death toll over 150,000 people, with millions displaced and homeless as a result of the disaster. Mercy Corps staff members are on the ground in Indonesia and headed to other affected areas to meet the critical needs of children and families. We desperately need your generous support to deliver lifesaving aid and assistance to survivors of this devastating earthquake. These families have lost everything – with nowhere else to turn, they need your help today.

The catastrophic earthquake and resulting tsunamis have killed thousands and left millions of families in Southeast Asia grieving, homeless, and vulnerable. At this hour, our global emergency team is delivering critical food, water, and other provisions to survivors in devastated areas, including Indonesia’s Aceh province. Please give now.

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