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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Beware of emails asking for donations for 26/11 victims

Days after the Mumbai attacks, people are being flooded by emails urging them to help terror victims. While many have fallen prey and donated money, Vijay Mukhi, an e-security expert, exposed how most of these mails are fake.

On Monday, Mukhi, President of Foundation for Information and Security and Technology (FIST) received an email from none other than Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan asking him to donate money.

“I thought I would donate for the cause. But then I decided to verify the mail as it seemed fishy,” said Mukhi. He immediately checked the link and found there was no proper owner of the link on which the donation was to be made. Mukhi soon figured out that the link was fake as was the email sender.

“The number of people surfing the Net has increased tremendously so cyber criminals create these fake links to cheat people. People also donate money without checking the authenticity of the email. There are high risks of getting cheated,” he said.

Mukhi is not the only one to receive such emails. Sulabh Pandey, a business development manager with a consultancy firm, also received one saying he should support the families of terror victims. Sulabh was moved by the mail and was about to donate, when he decided to check first. “I asked my friend Sandeep, an IT professional, who found that the link was fake,” he said.

A recent report by Mcafee, a US-based security technology company, states that cyber criminals are using the global recession, terror attacks and Christmas to strike. “In India, hackers are sending donation mails on behalf of Red Cross or Salvation Army and 26/11 has given them an opportunity to cheat people,” said Kartik Shahani, regional director (India ) Mcafee Inc.

Sulabh Pandey, who received an emotional plea for money via email, discovered , through a friend, that the mail was fake.

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