Hurricane Rita Internet Scams
The Washington Post published a story today on how spam and scam artists are registering Hurricane Rita oriented sites and domain names to prepare for email and web based scam operations. Such questionable operations range from relics for auction on eBay which clain that a percentage of the sale will go and charity to domain names such as RitaAid.net posting for sale signs of $10,000.
With Hurricane Rita beginning to batter down on the Gulf Coast three weeks after the ravaging of Hurricane Katrina, the Washington Post article “Rita Brings New Wave of Net Profiteering” is a warning of things to come. Hopefully, this will help to educate web users of the scum trying to turn a buck on such a tragedy. Here are some snippets:
In a spree mirroring the online gold rush that accompanied Hurricane Katrina’s landfall and aftermath, online speculators are scooping up hundreds of Hurricane Rita-related Web domain names, and Rita-themed Internet auctions have begun in earnest.
The quick proliferation of questionable activities has spurred the federal government into partnering with Internet service providers, computer security companies and anti-spam groups to shut down and prosecute owners of fraudulent sites, according to several participants in the ad-hoc task force.
“I expect we’re going to probably see just as many attempts at fraud with Rita as we did with Katrina, and the fact that both of these hurricanes hit at the same time is going to increase amount of scams out there,” Tom Liston, a security consultant with Intelguardians.com said. “Because [the hurricane] is such a newsworthy issue and people constantly have this in front of them, unfortunately that’s going to help these low-lifes out there to succeed in what they’re doing.”
Many of the fraudulent Web sites set up after Katrina were not advertised through spam but through online newsgroup postings and other methods less likely to catch the attention of fraud watchers, said Richard Cox, chief information officer for the Spamhaus Project, a junk e-mail fighting group.