Not long after the horrific blasts at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured at least 176 – minutes later, actually – people began to register Web site domain names related to the bombings. The swiftness of their action makes many wonder if they just want to profit legally from the tragedy or to create fake charity sites to solicit fraudulent donations.
Michael Berkens, editor of TheDomains, an online source of domain information, started tracking the domain name registrations. At least 125 domain names related to the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday were registered, he reports.
More than 20 look like they “could be used for fundraising efforts for the victims,” Berkens wrote.
“While we don’t know every registrant’s intention, we do know historically that many of the domain names registered immediately after were done to get traffic and make money parking domains or worse.”
Berkens has posted the domain names, including some he question. Check out the list.
Natural disasters and tragedies like what we saw in Boston breed charity scams, identity theft schemes and attempts to infect computers with malware, often with a link promising “exclusive” news or video of the incident, reports CNNMoney.
As CNN reported, “one fraudster set up a Twitter account minutes after the bombing that claimed to be associated with the Boston Marathon organization. The @_BostonMarathon account promised to donate $1 for every retweet. After users called it out as a fake, Twitter quickly shut the account down -- but not before it received more than 50,000 retweets.”
“Tragedies inspire people to give,” H. Art Taylor, president and chief executive of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, said in a blog by Kelsey Owen, communications and marketing coordinator for the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
But, as Taylor said, “tragedies – whether natural disasters or man-made catastrophes – also inspire scammers to take advantage of that generosity.”
If you want to help the victims of the Boston Marathon, check out a group or Web site before you give. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance says you should not assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs or other social media have already been vetted. Check out more tips on safe donations from the Alliance here.
AARP and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) is offering a free, online interactive discussion on Tuesday, April 23, at 2 p.m. Experts will be available to answer your questions about protecting your retirement savings. There will also be tips on spotting the common warning signs of a scam and on checking out your financial professional. You can submit a question in advance by e-mailing email@example.com, or ask your questions during the live conversation. Register here.