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From Gaza to Ghaziabad: How Scammers Turn ‘All Eyes on Rafah’ into ‘All Eyes on Your Wallet

Scammers are exploiting the heightened visibility of the ‘All Eyes on Rafah’ movement to trick people into donating to fraudulent causes



All Eyes on Rafah

In the digital age, emotion ka jugaad can turn the most heartfelt initiatives into playgrounds for scammers. The viral ‘All Eyes on Rafah’ campaign, meant to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, has unfortunately become a magnet for online fraudsters.

The Economic Times reported a significant uptick in fraudulent posts and accounts masquerading as legitimate Gaza aid organizations. Email security providers have seen a boom in phishing attempts, while agencies are swamped with complaints about fake charities.

Take the case of a 28-year-old software professional from Bengaluru. Overcome with grief and a desire to help after seeing harrowing images of children affected by the conflict, he donated Rs. 10,000 via a UPI transfer to what seemed like a genuine charity link on Instagram. It was only when he didn’t receive a receipt and found the contact number unresponsive that he realized he had been duped.

The Bhaiya from Bengaluru admitted that the UPI payment to someone named Umesh Yadav should have raised alarm bells, but he was too emotionally invested to think clearly. “What hurt the most was not losing the money, but knowing it ended up in a scammer’s pocket instead of helping someone in Gaza,” he said.

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Common Gaza-related scams include fake websites, phishing emails, fake cryptocurrency links, and social media scams. Fraudsters create websites mimicking reputable aid organizations, use phishing emails that appear to be from trusted charities, and circulate fake video links that lead to malicious sites.

The emotional appeal of the Gaza situation makes it masaledaar for scammers who exploit people’s goodwill. The ‘All Eyes on Rafah’ movement, which gained over 34 million shares on Instagram in just 24 hours, has become a prime target. The image featured tents arranged to spell out ‘All Eyes on Rafah,’ referencing an area in southern Gaza where 45 civilians were reported killed in an Israeli airstrike.

This image has been widely circulated by influencers and celebrities, including Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan and prominent Indian actors like Alia Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra, and Kareena Kapoor. Unfortunately, this visibility has also provided cover for scammers to create fake accounts and campaigns that mimic legitimate efforts, making it difficult for individuals to distinguish between real and fake ones.

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Social media monitoring tools have tracked a 40% increase in scam-related content since the movement gained momentum. Reports indicate a 60% rise in phishing emails claiming to be from legitimate aid organizations. The US-based Better Business Bureau observed a 35% increase in fake charity complaints within a three-month period.

In their eagerness to contribute, people may not realize their money is not going to Gaza but could be ending up in places like Ghaziabad or elsewhere. The lesson here? Always verify before you part with your presumably hard-earned money.

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