Avoiding 9/11 anniversary scams

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PHOENIX - News of Osama Bin Laden's death was just minutes old when hackers went to work.

Invitations to view the image of his body quickly spread on the internet, but instead of seeing a photo or video, your computer was exposed to malicious software or spam.

Eduard Goodman is a security specialist with a company called Identity Theft 911.

He says he expects the upcoming 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks will bring out even more scammers.

“Most people's defenses are down. They're thinking more with their heart at that point and that's what these scammers exploit unfortunately,” he said.

Government agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are already warning consumers to be on the lookout for email scams related to the anniversary.

You should also expect to see more spam in your inbox.

Goodman says you should also be leery when you see links to so-called secret 9/11 videos or conspiracy theories, especially on social network websites.

“You click on the link, it takes you out somewhere else and often times, there's malware, there's spyware, viruses,” he said.

You'll also see more fake charities centering around 9/11.

In fact, there has already been reports of a commemorative 9/11 coin scam.

Then there's the Valley man who reportedly accepted $700,000 for a giant quilt memorial.

But years later, there's still no quilt.

Goodman says if you feel the need to donate this 10th anniversary, look for and research a charity on your own because charities that come to you for money will often run off with it.

“Most people, they've got too good of hearts to even consider that someone might be exploiting a tragic event like that to take advantage of them, but it’s a perfect opportunity,” he said.

To fend off scammers, Goodman says, don't be so quick to click.

For news and video related to the anniversary, use familiar news websites.

Never download software to watch videos or view pictures.

Set social network privacy settings as tight as possible.

Research 9/11 charities before you donate to them, and avoid paying with cash.

Finally, make sure your computer is up-to-date with the latest security software.