Online scams soliciting relief donations for China, Myanmar

Singapore - InternetCyber swindlers posing as victims in disaster- hit China and Myanmar are targeting citizens of Singapore and elsewhere with email scams and phony websites soliciting donations, news reports said Tuesday.

The frauds have prompted widespread alerts from sources including information technology firms in Singapore about the attempts to capitalize on the earthquake and cyclone, which have claimed at least 150,000 lives.

Experts told The Straits Times that the perpetrators are hoping to tap into the generosity of Singaporeans by posing as victims and charities.

Other messages promise news updates but are laced with viruses that attack the users' computers and steal personal information, the report said.

The best defence is common sense, said Paul Ducklin, Asia-Pacific head of technology at IT security firm Sophos.

"Sadly, some people have forgotten or perhaps have never learned from the lessons of the past," he was quoted as saying. "Untrusted files from unknown sources are just that: unknown and untrusted. Don't open them."

Computer users can also protect their systems with spam filters or anti-malware software. (dpa)