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Prompt responses to tragedies - by the wrong guys!

We have seen two major natural calamities in the past week -cyclone in Myanmar and an earthquake in China. The Internet is abuzz with relief measures and donation outpourings. A lot is being made of the fact that a social networking site Twitter was the first to throw up the news of the quake in China. Also, many bloggers/geeks are noting with approval that donations are being made through alternative payment methods like PayPal and via unconventional agencies instead of the usual Red Cross.

My take, however, is that in our present wired world, it is the fraudsters and scammers who are the fastest on the draw and gain the most out of such tragedies. The US Federal authorities noted that first scam site to receive donations came up within half an hour of Katrina hitting New Orleans! I think the Myanmar tragedy will attract more creative 'scamming' as the military junta is blocking international agencies from entering the country. Perhaps, the Chinese quake will also offer an opportunity to scammers to use the 'restrictions' to open doors for them. Be sure to receive emails or links to sites that will promise to deliver relief to the affected and solicit your kindness! The really creative scammers may even adopt the mobile channel to seek help. This will also be a ripe opportunity for phishers to collect bank accounts, personal Ids, passwords by appealing to your good intentions.

So, hang on and await the first line of scams and watch out for fraudsters scaling news heights in creative milking!


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