Cybercriminals now exploiting Orlando massacre

Scammers are taking advantage of our good will
Posted at 5:40 PM, Jun 20, 2016

Cyber-scammers are taking advantage of the tragedy in Orlando, counting on your desire to help the victims and their families to steal from you.

"They are using human suffering and tragedy and exploiting it to trick people, to shock people, into clicking on links and opening attachments," said Stu Sjouwerman, the founder of the Clearwater-based cyber-security company KnowBe4.

Sjouwerman tells ABC Action News that as soon as any major tragedy strikes -- from a celebrity death to a mass shooting -- there are "online mafias" that compete to get out scams the quickest because that's when people are vulnerable.

"If it causes emotional shock, that's what we in the industry call 'clickbait,'" says Sjouwerman. "One click can be enough" to download spyware or malware onto your computer that either steals your information, or even holds it hostage for money.

"They have templates ready for the moment something like this happens. They change a few things and then 100 million phishing emails get sent," Sjouwerman said.

You can still help the victims without getting scammed, though.

Sjouwerman recommends hovering your pointer over a link but don't click. He suggests going directly to a site through the browser instead, especially after a national tragedy like the one in Orlando.

Click here for the "22 red flags" to look out for when you get an email asking you to click or respond.

Sjouwerman recommends printing this out and saving it next to your computer for easy use.