Tsunami brings out worst in some, postal inspectors report

The Japanese earthquake and tsunami have spawned a series of Internet scams, including fake Facebook and YouTube sites.

The U.S. Postal Service said it estimated that 1.7 million fake Web sites have been started for a variety of criminal activities related to the earthquake. The most obvious are fake sites that seek donations.

However, postal inspectors said that scamsters are using the sites to harvest email addresses, to obtain personal information and to distributing computer viruses.
Another scam is promising donors they will get much more money back after Japanese victims win huge court settlements. The emails bascally are variations of the usual spam scams with adjustments for Japan.

“In another scam, a link on Facebook to a purported video of a whale being tossed from the ocean into a building leads to a fraudulent YouTube site, which gathers personal information,” said postal inspectors. “The link even has a hidden ‘like’ button that, when selected, spreads the scam to others on the user’s Facebook pages.”

In Costa Rica the Cruz Roja collects donations, which are then channeled through the Red Cross network to Japan.

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