Scammers taking advantage of Sandy

Email scammers are exploiting the devastation of Hurricane Sandy with fake donation requests and offers to make money.

Internet security company Symantec is urging email users to be cautious of spam messages that tug at the heartstrings in the wake of the superstorm, which claimed dozens of lives as it swept through the Caribbean and the eastern coast of the United States.

It said typical spam attacks like offers of free gift cards, loans and chances to make money were targeting the disaster, with email headlines using words like hurricane, sandy, storm, coast and superstorm.

"Spammers taking advantage of disasters is nothing new. Symantec anticipates that fake news, photos, Nigerian scams, phishing campaigns, and malicious video link attacks will be seen more frequently in the coming weeks."

Symantec said internet users should reach out to storm victims through legitimate and secure channels, rather than donating money or buying products through wire transfer services or other untraceable methods of payment.

They should also type website addresses directly into their internet browser, rather than clicking on links or videos in emails.