Earthquake in Turkey and Syria: Be Aware of Possible Donation Scams

Published: 2023-02-06
Last Updated: 2023-02-06 18:40:43 UTC
by Johannes Ullrich (Version: 1)
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Last night, Turkey and Syria were affected by a significant earthquake. Sadly, experience teaches us that disasters like this will often be abused. The most common scam involves fake donation websites. But you may also see malware disguised as a video or images from the affected region.

Here are some tips to share:

  • Do not donate to organizations you have not heard of before the event. Only donate to organizations that have an established track record.
  • If you have contacts in the affected area: Try to reach out to them to find out how to help them.
  • Scams may target people with links to the affected region. Be careful with phone calls or emails claiming to ask for money on behalf of a relative or friend. Scammers may use social media data and may contact you via social media.
  • Do not blindly believe requests for help on social media.
  • Do not just Google for ways to donate money.

At this point, I have not seen any active scams. The unpredictability of earthquakes results in a lag between the event and the scam. We are monitoring respective scams, so please let us know if there is something you come across.

Communication in the affected area is severely limited. Turkish government websites are also experiencing outages due to many website visitors, particularly sites related to the earthquake.

Thanks to all the first responders helping people in need in the area. They will need our help, but please make sure to help them, not scammers.

Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D. , Dean of Research,

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