Special Olympics New York Warns Donors About Phishing Emails

Law Firm Newswire



New York, NY(Law Firm Newswire) January 3, 2020 – Special Olympics New York recently became the target of a phishing scam. Hackers broke into the nonprofit organization’s email server and used it to send phishing emails to donors.

Special Olympics NY notified affected donors about the security breach and requested they ignore the phishing email. The organization claimed the hack was limited to the “communications system” that contained contact details. Donors’ financial information remained confidential. The email notice did not disclose how the hackers initially compromised the communications system.

“Phishing is a form of identity theft that is considered a serious criminal offense in New York,” commented Peter Brill, a New York criminal defense attorney with Brill Legal Group. “Individuals who are facing phishing charges should make sure to have experienced legal representation. Because the laws surrounding internet crimes are ever-changing, it is important to seek out a defense attorney who is intimately familiar with the latest updates.”

The phishing messages alerted recipients to a donation of $1,942.49 that would be automatically debited from their accounts in under two hours. The short time period created a sense of urgency that aimed to compel the organization’s donors to open one of two embedded links.

The phishing email contained a Constant Contact tracking link that sent recipients to the attackers’ landing page. The page was believed to have been designed to steal donors’ financial information. Donors were instructed to preview their transaction statement by clicking on the link. The email then redirected recipients to a PDF statement to verify the details of the transaction.

Special Olympics NY later released a statement reassuring donors the security issue had been addressed and that they could safely resume making donations. The nonprofit organization hosts athletic competitions and provides sports training to over 67,000 child and adult athletes with special needs across New York.

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