The FBI is warning the public that scammers are committing charity fraud by soliciting fake humanitarian donations during the Israel HAMAS conflict. Scammers quickly pivot to charity fraud when catastrophic events occur, such as a war, a natural disaster, or an epidemic.
- As of October 12, 2023, an alleged fake charity scheme circulating on social media and via encrypted messaging platforms directed recipients to a website that may contain malware and claims to solicit cryptocurrency for "humanitarian" purposes.
- As of the date of this announcement, the FBI has received complaints of legitimate email addresses of individuals in Israel "being hacked" or possibly spoofed to solicit donations.
Additionally, foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) and their supporters establish fake charities to engage in fraudulent fundraising, often via social media platforms, to target unwitting individuals into providing funds to subsidize FTO operations. FTOs and their supporters have published the same monetary or cryptocurrency payment mechanisms for purportedly charitable purposes on one platform and to solicit funds to support terrorism on others.
Tips to Protect Yourself
- Verify the legitimacy of the charity or individuals soliciting funds - research charities online to see if there are news, reviews, or posts linking the charity to fraud and use proven contact methods to verify the identity of individuals requesting donations via email or social media platforms.
- Verify the legitimacy of QR code-linked websites seeking donations.
- Verify the legitimacy of crowdfunding websites seeking donations.
- Use strong and unique passwords to protect platforms.
- Look for secure site indicators, such as URLs beginning with "https" or a lock symbol. URLs beginning with "http" or lacking a lock symbol at the beginning could indicate an unsecure site.
- Do not click on links from unknown sources.
- Do not share personal or financial information and do not send payments to any unknown individuals or groups soliciting funds for humanitarian aid.
The FBI requests victims report these fraudulent or suspicious activities to the FBI IC3 at www.ic3.gov.
For additional information on similar schemes and FBI guidance for victims of cryptocurrency fraud, please see previous Public Service Announcements published on the FBI IC3 website: