Scammers have wasted no time in trying to cash in on the chaos unfolding in Haiti.
As soon as the scale of the disaster on Tuesday was known, fraudsters started to register URL's.
Not all are fakes but the FBI has issued a warning for donors to be vigilant and give money to only recognised organisations like the Disasters Emergency Committee, the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
Search engine manipulation, Twitter tags and even paid search engine placement ads drive the web traffic.
There are other ways cyber criminals are exploiting the disaster, those wanting to view videos related to Haiti are prompted to download software that will compromise their web security.
According to The Register, Security researchers at the Internet Storm Centre have already logged the appearance of suspicious domains not connected to recognised charities. "We are already seeing a bunch of domains being parked in relation to the Haiti disaster, and we are going to attempt to keep an eye on them all to warn our readers of anything possibly misaligned," ISC researcher Joel Esler writes.
You can count on fraudsters to be there
The U.S Better Business Forum said:
"Whenever there is a major natural disaster, be it home or abroad, there are two things you can count on. The first is the generosity ...to donate time and money to help victims, and the second is the appearance of poorly run and in some cases fraudulent charities."
Since the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, heartless scammers have refined their methods and fine tuned their appearance. Fake sites can often appear indistinguishable from the main aid agencies.
As many as 100,000 people are feared dead, and millions more affected, by a magnitude 7.0 quake whose epicentre was located approximately 15km from Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.
Advice for donors include:
Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity.
Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims.
Be cautious when giving online.
Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas.
Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups.
Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations.