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Red Cross Tsunami Scam Email

Summary:
Unsolicited email claiming to be from Red Cross International, the Netherlands, asks recipients to donate money to tsunami victims by arranging a money transfer (Full commentary below).



Status:
False

Example:(Received form scammers, January 2005)
Subject: PLEASE HELP TSUNAMI VICTIMS, HELP TSUNAMI VICTIMS

HELP TSUNAMI VICTIMS, HELP TSUNAMI VICTIMS.

THE RED CROSS INTERNATIONAL AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS ZONE (B) HEREBY APPEALLING TO YOU FRIENDS,PUBLIC,FAMILIES AND COMPANIES, TO HELP US WITH ONLINE FUND RAISING TO ENABLE US TREAT OVER 1.5 MILLION CHILDREN AFFECTED WITH QUAKE/TSUNAMI DESASTER ACROSS ASIA.VISIT WWW.CNN.COM/TSUNAMI TO SEE WHY YOUR HELP/MONEY IS HIGHLY NEEDED.

HELP THE NEEDY,POOR AND SICK,NO AMOUNT IS SMALL FOR GOD LOVES A CHEERFULL GIVER. IN ORDER TO EXPEDITE THE SENDING OF THE RELIEF FUNDS TO THE NEEDY URGENTLY, YOU ARE ADVISED TO SEND US YOUR DONATION/CONTRIBUTION IN HOLLAND BY EXPRESS MONEYGRAM TRANSFER SERVICES ( www.moneygram.com ) OR WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER ( www.westernunion.com ) THROUGH THE NAME OF OUR FINANCIAL OFFICERS MRS ( LILIAN DAVID ) AND MR ( ROBERT JOHN ) RESPECTIVELY.

YOU ARE ADVISED TO RESPOND BACK TO US THROUGH THIS EMAIL ADDRESS AND PROVIDE US WITH THE TRANSFER DETAILS INCLUDING YOUR CONTACT ADDRESS ON OUR OFFICIAL E-MAIL ADDRESS: [REMOVED]

N.B,DONATORS FROM 100 TO 4500 EUROS WILL ONLY HAVE THEIR NAMES APPEARED IN OUR RELIEF MAGAZINES AND WEBSITES WHILE THOSE DONATIONS ABOVE ( 5000 EUROS) TO ANY AMOUNT WILL HAVE A SPACE FOR THEIR FOTOS,NAMES AND BUSINESS ADVERTS IN OUR MAGAZINES AND WEBSITES AS DOES IN THE PAST YEARS.FOR THE LATER (VIP)S PLEASE SEND US YOUR FOTOS AND BUSINESS DETAILS.

WE AWAITS YOUR URGENT RESPONSE AND THANKS FOR YOUR CO-OPERATIONS AND GENEROSITY TO MANKIND.

YOURS SINCERELY,

JANZEN HALL

RELIEF COORDINATOR.




Commentary:
The rather crude scam email above pretends to be from the International Red Cross and asks for donations to assist victims of Asia's devastating tsunami. The Red Cross does not send unsolicited requests for donations via email. Furthermore, the Red Cross does not collect donations in the manner described in the message. Official Red Cross websites do allow visitors to donate money via secure online forms. However, the organization does not expect the contributor to arrange the transaction via email and then wire the money via a transfer service. Any "donations" sent as a response to the email above would go directly to the scammers perpetrating this unforgivable fraud.

Unfortunately, the tsunami disaster has provided a perfect background for the unscrupulous to launch a variety of Internet and email based scams. The example above is only one of many tsunami related scam emails. Some are classic Nigerian scams modified to use the Tsunami as a cover story. Others ask for donations and point recipients to fake websites designed to resemble the websites of real charitable organizations. Still others may contain viruses or other malicious content.

Be very wary of any unsolicited emails that ask for donations for Tsunami victims. Do not click on donation links provided in these emails as they may lead to fake websites. Do not open attachments that arrive with these emails, as they may contain viruses. If you wish to donate money online, go directly to the charity's official website.

For more information see the FBI's TSUNAMI DISASTER RELIEF FRAUD ALERT and the American Red Cross National Headquarters Statement on Internet Fraud.


Write-up by Brett M. Christensen