Security experts are warning of new phishing scams following Hurricane Gustav.
The US Computer Emergency Response Team and security firm Sans have issued warnings to users about a large rise in the registration of domains for people donate to relief funds for victims in the US Gulf Coast.
This follows previous registration patterns after instances in which domains were registered in the aftermath of a disaster and then used to host phishing and fraud operations disguised as relief efforts.
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, many fake donation sites were established to take money from people keen to make donations to the victims.
Marcus Sachs, researcher at Sans, said: “This time around it looks like the people who like to register domain names in anticipation of a storm's arrival have already started registering them for Gustav and Hanna. I'm not suggesting that they are up to no good, but simply pointing out that the rush has started and we need to make sure our users are aware of the potential for scam sites appearing online in the next few days."
US-Cert has encouraged users to avoid links by email and recommended that they screen hurricane relief charities against a special Federal Trade Commission checklist, or donate via known national charities.