I don’t think you’d need to be a rocket surgeon to guess that Chile Earthquake Scams are already well underway. I once posed the hypothetical, “How long does it take a crook to turn something into a scam, four minutes?”
Turns out I wasn’t giving the con artists enough credit. My new estimate is 30 seconds.
The same rules apply here as when dealing with possible Haiti Earthquake Scams. Be extremely wary of unsolicited charity donations. The best way to help is to contact your favorite organization first and turn down all other requests.
There is a short article on the topic at Scambusters that identifies a couple additional threats beyond fake charities, and both involve malware.
Basically, if a stranger sends you alleged photos of the earthquake damage, do not open these attachments because they are infected with a virus. In fact, don’t even open the message at all. There is plenty of footage coming in through official news sources.
Also, beware of fake news stories that come up in search engines. These can lead to websites that are infected with malware as well. According to the Scambusters article, these sites were up within hours of the earthquake. Just go directly to your favorite news source’s website and get your information from there. Many will even have a list of trustworthy resources if you want to donate to relief efforts.