Cybercriminals have reached a new low this week after using the details of Tsunami victims to scam individuals.
An email which has been widely spammed out poses as the legal advisor of British couple Carol and Mike Hall, two individuals who were genuine victims of the 2004 Asian Tsunami.
To build the trust from the recipient of the email, the scammers include a link to the genuine news article from the BBC confirming the death and subsequent inquest of this couple. The link, while genuine, is also very brief in its statement and provides little information other than confirmation the couple were victims of the natural disaster.
By hiding behind genuine tragic circumstances, the criminals start the building blocks of the scam claiming the couple had no children and had directed in their will for their legal advistor to provide their wealth to an ‘honest’ Christian – choosing the recipient of the email as that person. Of course, there is absolutely no truth in this fictitious claim.
The email claims to have come from the alleged legal adviser “Deacon Peter Harrison” with a disposable email account firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject line is simply “Dear In Christ,”:
By linking the circumstances of the scam to a genuine story, the social engineering used by these criminals has taken a more sinister turn than the standard lottery winning emails.
This scam also grooms their victims slowly, encouraging the recipient to acknowledge the email to discuss the situation further, rather than ask them to open a link (containing malware) or encourage a sense of urgency to provide personal details quickly.
Ultimately these scams are all the same, requiring their victims to hand over their personal details which are ultimately used for fraudulent purposes. They typically also request a ‘upfront’ payment from the recipient in order to release the funds that don’t actually exist.
Don’t allow your friends and family to fall for this latest scam – help raise awareness by sharing this important message.