Recently, we reported on the concerning rise in fake charity scams in the aftermath of the conflict in Ukraine. Unfortunately, there is no low cybercriminals will not stoop to in order to make a quick buck — and taking advantage of people’s empathy and generosity has long been a favored tactic.
Mercury One Scam
Mercury One is a nonprofit charity that was founded in 2011 by conservative political commentator Glenn Beck. Its official site is mercuryone.org. To be clear, that is the only one — and any other website/URL is not to be trusted. Scammers, however, have been contacting would-be victims under the guise of Mercury One in order to steal people’s money and personal information.
Long-winded SMS messages are being sent out and read as follows:
- glenn beck here with an emergency request. when afghanistan fell, mercury one & partners raised $40m+ to rescue americans, persecuted christians & others. ukraine needs us. we’re providing humanitarian aid & medical care on the border & need your support. rush a contribution: [URL]
- vicki, this is glenn beck with an emergency request. last year when afghanistan fell, my nonprofit mercury one & its partners raised over $40m to rescue over 12,500 at-risk individuals including american citizens & persecuted christians. now the people of ukraine need our help, and they need it right now. working hand-in-hand with our partners on the ground, we are providing direct humanitarian aid & medical care on the border of ukraine and your support is vital. rush an immediate contribution to mercury one’s humanitarian fund now: [URL]
In the unfortunate event of users clicking the phishing links, they will be taken to fake Mercury One phishing pages, such as those below. There, they will be asked to enter payment details and other sensitive information.
Do not click on these links — despite best intentions, the only people you’ll be donating to are criminals.
How to Protect Yourself
- Double-check the sender’s mobile number/email address.
- Be suspicious of free gifts or prizes as these are highly likely to be dangerous.
- Regarding charities, always do your research into the organization. These are good links: Charity Navigator & Charity Watch.
- Keep an eye out for tell-tale signs of scams: grammatical mistakes, grand claims, exclamation marks (!).
- NEVER click links or attachments from unknown sources. Use
Trend Micro Check
to detect scams with ease!
Trend Micro Check is an all-in-one browser extension for detecting scams, phishing attacks, malware, and dangerous links — and it’s FREE!
After you’ve pinned Trend Micro Check, it will block dangerous sites automatically! It’s available on Safari, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge.
Check out this page for more information on Trend Micro Check.
Be safe out there, folks. As ever, we hope this article has been of use and/or interest to you. If so, please do SHARE it with family and friends to help keep the online community secure and protected.