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Ebola Triggers Domain Name Rush - And Scams

November 3, 2014

Crises can bring out the best in people - and unfortunately the worst. Some are trying to cash in on the ebola virus disaster.

According to information from the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), nearly 1,200 "Ebola" domains have been registered since April 2014; with approximately 1,000 of those registrations occurring since July. Of the domains, 184 have been identified by NASAA's Internet Fraud Investigations project group as suspicious.

"Although we have not investigated any of these sites, a review of domain names indicates that there certainly appear to be those intent on raising Ebola-related funds or otherwise trying to leverage the crisis for financial gain," said said Jake van der Laan, chair of NASAA�s Internet Fraud Investigations project group. 

Mr. van der Laan noted domains deemed to be suspicious were mostly parked (yet to have content added) and contained words such as "investing", "stocks" and "funds".

Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller has warned investors to beware of  Internet-based schemes tied to investments in Ebola-related treatments or cures.

A rush on tragedy themed domains isn't uncommon - for example, it happened with the deaths of Steve Jobs and Michael Jackson and the Boston Bombing. In fact; any major news event will attract those hoping to cash in quickly; such as the birth of a Royal

However, not everyone is out to make a buck for themselves of course. The man who registered offered it to the Vatican for nothing and the domain now points to the Vatican's official web site.

It's been reported some who register domain names based on a tragedy in the hope of a payday often find the email flooding into their inboxes doesn't consist of offers, but abuse from offended parties.

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