Royal Birth Triggers Social Media Scams

7/23/2013

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The bigger the news story, the bigger the opportunity for scammers. With the new royal baby making headlines across the globe, BBB expects to see scammers swooping in to take advantage of the public’s eagerness to see photos of the newborn prince.

How the Scam Works:   

You are on Facebook, and you see that your friend likes an “exclusive” video of the new royal baby. The link promises candid footage that no media outlet has. Curious, you click on the link.

You are taken to an unfamiliar, 3rd party website. A pop up appears prompting you to “update your video player” before you are able to view the clip. You click “Ok.” However when you download the file, you aren’t updating your software. You are really downloading a virus that scans your machine for banking and other personal information. This opens you up to the risk of identity theft.

Like all scams this has many variations, and it’s not limited Facebook. Watch out for similar links posted on Twitter, through other social media or sent by email. Scammers can glean your friends’ names and emails from their Facebook accounts and send messages posing as them.  Read more about the technique here.

Tips to Protect Yourself From “Click Bait” Scams:  

Take the following steps to protect yourself and others from scam links shared through email and social media:

  • Don’t trust your friends’ taste. It might not even be them “liking” or sharing scam links to photos. Their account may have been hacked. But it may also be clickjacking, a technique that scammers use to trick you into clicking something that you wouldn’t otherwise (especially the Facebook “Like” button).
  • Don’t take the bait. Just stay away from promotions of “exclusive,” “shocking” or “sensational” footage. If it sounds too outlandish to be true, it is probably a scam.
  • Hover over a link to see its true destination. Before you click, mouse over the link to see where it will take you. Don’t click on links leading to unfamiliar websites.
  • On Facebook, report scam profiles, posts and other suspicious activity by following these instructions.
  • On Twitter, if another user is sending you links to malware or other spam, report them to Twitter by following these instructions.

For More Information

To find out more about scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper

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