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Scammers Exploit Hurricane Katrina

by Brett M. Christensen

Scammers are using the Hurricane Katrina tragedy to steal money from unsuspecting Internet users. Just days after Katrina struck, phoney websites began to appear that ask for donations to help hurricane victims. Typically, the sites accept funds via online payment company, PayPal and promise to send any donations on to relief organizations. However, there is no way of verifying the destination of funds donated on these sites. In all probability, money donated on such sites will be kept by the site owners and will never make it to relief organizations. Some scam sites may attempt to mimic the websites of legitimate organizations such as the Red Cross.

Scammers are also using email to fraudulently solicit donations or entice recipients into clicking on a link to visit a bogus website. Legitimate relief organizations are highly unlikely to ask for donations via unsolicited emails.

Those wishing to make online donations to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts should only do so via the official websites of reputable relief organizations. Never follow a link in an unsolicited email that asks for donations. Do not donate funds on websites that promise to send the money to relief organizations on your behalf.

Other Hurricane Katrina related emails can lead to a malware infection. Messages promising news about Hurricane Katrina may entice recipients to follow a link to a bogus website that attempts to infect their computer with a malicious trojan.

Scammers are always quick to exploit disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. The 2004 Asian Tsunami was the subject of much fraudulent activity. Scammers also exploited the 2005 London bombing attack.
RED HERRING: Katrina Scams Move Online
U.S. officials warn against hurricane aid scams
Scammers hit Web in Katrina’s wake

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,