Scammers Exploit San Diego Fire

Predictably, sadly, scammers are already milking the tragic situation by masquerading as charity organizations.

Websense, a security company headquartered in fire-savaged San Diego, is warning that scammers are milking the tragic situation by masquerading as charity organizations.

Websense posted an image showing one suspicious eBay auction purporting to be a request for donations from the San Diego Fire Rescue Relief Effort.

"Please put the item you want to buy aside for a short time and take in consideration of helping," the listing reads. "The money will be used to buy those children a hope because we all know that the families will not be able to it [sic] themselves."

Websense urged potential donors to make sure theyre dealing with legitimate organizations, if possible, by taking the initiative to contact agencies rather than responding to solicitations.

"Be very careful of people reporting to be agencies such as the Red Cross asking for donations or requesting you to visit their Web sites," the security company said in its posting. "They may be fraudulent or hosting malicious code designed to steal information such as banking details."

Websense itself has been seeing to its employees welfare. "Our top priority right now is the safety of our employees and their families," the company said in a release.

Websenses headquarters are outside of the evacuation area and hasnt sustained any damage or outages because of the fires, but on Monday, the company encouraged San Diego-based employees to stay home if necessary. On Tuesday, the company shut down its headquarters so employees could focus on keeping their families safe and dealing with evacuation.

Following wildfires in 2003, the company came up with business continuity plans. Its now running with redundant data centers, research teams and customer service distributed globally to help maintain content protection services for some 50,000 organizations it counts as customers.

"Many employees have company laptops and email-enabled PDAs, and employees can also access the corporate network through the Internet making it possible for most employees to work from remote locations. By providing Web-based access to e-mail and corporate instant messaging tools, most employees can work from virtually anywhere; however, we understand that this is a difficult time and affected employees should focus on their safety and family at this time. We are also encouraging employees to limit wireless access at the height of the crisis, as emergency services are relying on these communications channels to fight the fires," the company said in a release.

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