UNICEF is deeply concerned about the fraudulent use of our name and logo by unethical individuals who deliberately abuse the trust of UNICEF supporters worldwide. Following are details on how fraud is perpetrated – and how to help protect both UNICEF and yourself from its potentially serious consequences.
We have received reports that imposters around the world and in India may now be using UNICEF’s name – and our hard-earned credibility – to solicit members of the public via websites, e-mails, phone calls and by door-knocking.
Cases of suspected fraud brought to the attention of UNICEF India will be reported by UNICEF India to the Ministry of External Affairs. We are alerting the public as well, in an effort to ensure that innocent victims are not lured into providing their personal contact details or transfer money to parties not related to UNICEF.
Please be advised that websites, e-mails and phone calls offering jobs, prizes or investment schemes on behalf of UNICEF are fabricated and fraudulent. Only UNICEF and its 36 national committees are authorized to send communications or appeals to the public in UNICEF’s name.
Beware of ‘phishing’
With heightened media attention regarding the theft of personal data, many consumers – as well as supporters of humanitarian organizations like UNICEF – are concerned about the privacy and integrity of their personal data.
That’s why it is important to be aware of fraudulent Internet correspondence, also known as ‘phishing’.
Phishing is a type of fraud in which e-mail messages, instant messages and websites are used to deceive individuals into providing confidential, personal information.
The term relates to the idea that people will ‘take the bait’ and disclose personal information, which can be used for credit card fraud and other serious violations of privacy.
Phishing e-mails generally appear to be sent from legitimate organizations, asking users to either reply or link to a web page to update their personal information. They sometimes contain an organizational logo and even a physical address, but the web address, or URL, does not match that of the legitimate organization.
Don’t get ‘hooked’
Among the data typically requested by phishers are the user’s name and address; Social Security number; account numbers and passwords; and bank account and credit card information — sometimes even the account holder’s mother’s maiden name or other private information used for security purposes.
Here are some measures you can take to avoid getting ‘hooked’ by a phishing scheme:
Be alert to any unexpected e-mail, instant message, voicemail or fax that claims to be from a bank, credit card company, online service or charitable organization with which you have an account or membership
If you do receive such a message, call the appropriate customer or donor service number (but not any number provided in the message) and verify whether it is legitimate
Do not respond to any e-mail, phone or fax instructions that prompt you to divulge your personal information
Do not click on any links in a suspicious e-mail; clicking on such a link may cause the download of key-logging or ‘spyware’ programmes onto your computer
Regularly log on to your online banking, credit card or other accounts and reconcile your statement balances to ensure that all transactions are legitimate
Use up-to-date anti-virus software – including spam filters and even ‘anti-phishing’ programmes, which are available to help screen out potential phishers on websites and e-mails.
Examples of fraud in India
Fraudulent investment scheme
Our supporters have made us aware of individuals posing as consultants from “UNICEF South Asia” offering an opportunity to partake in an investment scheme with a guaranteed return on investment. UNICEF does not engage in investment schemes offering members of the public a financial return on investment.
It is recommended that individuals affected by fraudulent activities in the name of UNICEF report such incidents to UNICEF India and to the police. Cases of suspected fraud brought to the attention of UNICEF India will be reported by UNICEF India to the Ministry of External Affairs.