Companies track down online tsunami relief scams

MasterCard International and NameProtect are donating their services to help law enforcement agencies stop online fraudsters from exploiting tsunami relief efforts.

The FBI has warned that criminals are using phishing attacks to steal donations intended to help victims of the south Asian tsunami. The attacks involve fraudulent emails that direct recipients to web sites that purport to be tsunami relief efforts.

MasterCard and NameProtect, a digital fraud protection company, are working together to identify the phishing scams. So far, the companies have found 133 potentially fraudulent sites related to the tsunami, which law enforcement agencies are investigating.

"Sadly, we have identified numerous phishing web sites that are trying to take advantage of people's compassion - but we are working with federal law enforcement to shut them down," Sergio Pinon, MasterCard senior vice president of security and risk services, said in a statement.

He also recommended that people make donations directly to official relief agency web sites rather than responding to unsolicited emails.

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