Beware of fake emails about Ukraine relief charity scams

Cybercriminals have no qualms about stooping to the lowest of the low to trick you into clicking on their fake (Phishing) emails.

In addition to the Covid themed ones, the attackers are now trying to trick you using fake emails, SMS text messages, and advertisements about the relief effort in Ukraine. They prey on New Zealanders’ kind and caring nature to lure them into their malicious activities.

Criminals have created compelling relief-related content to fool you into clicking on their malicious links and attachments. They rely on the assumption that this is an emotional time for some people, and they will be less likely to give the email, SMS text message or advertisement the scrutiny it deserves before clicking on it.

If you fall for one of these emails and click on the link, it will download malware to steal your information, or worse, ransomware to lock you out of your computer or mobile phone.

ESET, a reputable antivirus firm, has identified examples of the emails currently doing the rounds:

One scam page blares “THEY NEED OUR HELP” over images of war, adding, “The Ukraine situation is terrible. Donate for support” and noting that it accepts American Express, Apple Pay, MasterCard, PayPal and Visa.

Another displays the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag and urges readers to “Buy Ukraine Token.” It promises that “regular donations and support will be made as well as development for the token and project long term” and that “we are utilising an experienced crypto project team to insure the best success for our project.” 

A third site just states “STOP WAR IN UKRAINE” alongside a donation button.

If you want to support relief efforts, go to legitimate charity sites like the Red Cross and donate there. As a rule of thumb, if you don’t recognise the charity, do an independent check by looking it up online (not by clicking on anything in the email). You will see the relief campaign on their website if it is legitimate.

Finally, for any business owners reading this. Train your staff to know what to do when they find a fake email. One click on a phoney email can have long-term reputational and financial impacts on the viability of your business.

At Outfox, we provide staff awareness training sessions to businesses who want to stay safe working online.
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