Not even a week after the war started, email scams have already flooded the world.

Less than a week after the Israel-Gaza war started, scams exploiting the event were already being discovered. On 13 October 2023, email campaigns purporting to canvass disaster relief have been making the rounds.

Many of the spam emails are directed at inboxes in Russia, followed by Sweden, Romania, Iran and India, as well as the US, Japan, Germany and the UK. Similar in nature to the email scams leveraging the Russia-Ukraine war, the ploy is to piggyback on the humanitarian crisis and target victims on both sides of a war.

As the latest war continues into its second week, Bitdefender — the firm that has disclosed its findings — expects this type of scam email to be regularly delivered to inboxes of users worldwide, and with fraudsters continuing to adjust their ‘stories’ and donation requests in line with the latest news and updates on the conflict.

Readers are advised to stay informed, and not fall for fraudulent correspondence they may receive. The best way to remain safe and guard your finances is to closely inspect all war-related communications, whether via email, phone, text, or social media:

    • Always research an organization before making any payment — especially if responding to requests for payment of an advance-fee before some big benefit can be received
    • Donation requests in crypto, wire transfers, and gift cards are a big red flag, and should be avoided at all costs
    • Never respond to unsolicited emails that are obviously a scam. This will tell the scammers that your email address is valid, and they will continue to target you with additional phishing tactics and malicious correspondence
    • Despite the proliferation of new, legitimate help groups springing up worldwide to seek donations and aid for war victims, Bitdefender recommends donating only to established, reliable charity organizations that have a long history of providing help and emergency services to people (and new help groups)
Typical advance-fee scam email